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Do’s and Don’ts When Your Friend Has Cancer

when your friend has cancer

What to Do and What NOT to do When Your Friend Has Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Network of Australia compiled a helpful list of tips to help a friend or colleague with breast cancer. These tips come from people who know: real women who have survived breast cancer surgery, chemo, and radiation treatments.

October is all about breast cancer awareness, making it a great time to provide extra support to someone you know with breast cancer. Sometimes the best way to help is by knowing what NOT to do. Consider these suggestions for things you should avoid when your friend has breast cancer:

  • Do not constantly tell her to stay positive- it can make her feel like she can’t or does not want to speak honestly with you.
  • Don’t tell her horror stories about other people with breast cancer.
  • Don’t burden her by sharing all of your fears and worries about her cancer or how it is affecting you.
  • Do not bombard her with information about all of the latest breakthroughs and treatments and success stories you read about.
  • Don’t tell her all the ways she should live her life, change her habits or what to give up. She may not want to give up sugar, eat all organic food, do yoga, or anything else you suggest.
  • Don’t give up on her when she does not respond to your texts, calls, or visits.
  • Don’t avoid her
  • Don’t make assumptions about what she may and may not be able to do.
  • Don’t blame anyone or anything for her cancer.

Now that you know what NOT to do, what can you do to help your friend or colleague with breast cancer or any other cancer? You can offer emotional and practical help in a variety of ways. Consider the following suggestions of things you CAN and SHOULD do:

  • Make yourself available to listen, talk, sit quietly and laugh.
  • Remind her you are there at all hours of the day and night-and mean it.
  • Always check before stopping by.
  • Call and text frequently, making sure she knows you understand and won’t be offended when she does not respond or feel like talking.
  • Be yourself
  • Offer to run errands or accompany her on outings such as grocery shopping.
  • Cook a few meals for her to keep in the freezer for when she does not feel up to cooking for herself or her family
  • Offer to drive her places.
  • Send or drop-off flowers to brighten her day.
  • Do laundry and housekeeping.
  • Offer to babysit or pet-sit.
  • Ask her what she needs, what you can do for her – then do it!
  • Take her to medical appointments and treatments if allowed.
  • Send small gifts such as socks, caps, books, music, candles, or lotions.
  • Ask her what you may share with others about her illness and treatment.

The best thing you can do when trying to help a friend with cancer is to use common sense. Be attentive and attuned to her needs. When you are unsure of something, ask. It is important that your friend feel like she is still herself and has some control over her life while battling breast cancer.

Send Someone With Breast Cancer a Gift Box from Rock The Treatment

At Rock the Treatment, we make it easy to let someone with cancer know you care and support them on their difficult journey. If someone you love has breast cancer or any other type of cancer, send a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.


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