Helping A Person With Cancer
One of life’s most difficult challenges is finding out that a friend or loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. It can be hard to know exactly what to say, what to do, and how to help. Do they want to talk? Do they want a visit? Do they want you to stay away?
Even if you have a strong friendship, it is normal to have feelings of uncertainty or fear when trying to figure out the ideal way to offer support to someone with cancer. Asking what the person needs is a good place to start. Let your friend lead the way – your friend may let you know exactly how you can help.
There Are Many Ways to Help Someone Getting Cancer Treatment
Even if you want to help, be sure not to take it personally if your friend does not want to talk right away. Always keep in mind, cancer and cancer treatments can be life-changing for the patient, their family, and friends. You are all going through a tough time and might feel sad, guilty, afraid, and anxious. As hard as it might be, try focusing your energy on what your friend needs. Supporting the patient is most important.
Despite all of the uncertainty, there are many things you can do for someone with cancer. In this post, we’re going to share some ideas, tips, and ways you can support your friend through the cancer diagnosis and treatment processes.
How To Help When Your Friend Has Cancer
These are some ways you can lend support to your friend who is undergoing cancer treatments:
- Visit patients in the hospital or at their homes. Be sure to keep your visits to an appropriate length. You don’t want to overwhelm or exhaust them.
- If you are unable to visit in person, call on the phone or text. A conversation via text can be an excellent distraction. Anything that can help them feel and stay connected is good.
- Offer to go with them to appointments or treatments or like chemotherapy or radiation. Some people find it extremely helpful and calming to have someone to distract them, advocate for them or take notes.
- You may want to send a card or handwritten note with uplifting messages and words of support.
- Listen without judgment or advice. Let your friend know they can talk freely and say anything that is on their mind.
- Offer practical support: ask how they are managing the illness and if there is anything specific they need
- Send chemotherapy care packages filled with items they might need or appreciate, such as sucking candies, a hat, coloring books, socks, and/or journals. Anything related to distraction, relaxation, or comfort is generally appreciated!
- Offer emotional support to your friend who has cancer. You can do this by listening, talking, and asking them what they need from you right now. They might request that you bring over a meal for their family, pick up their kids from school, or go grocery shopping.
- Show your friend that you care by making their days enjoyable and fun. It is important to give your friend the opportunity to “feel like themself.” You can help with this by doing the types of activities you have always done together for fun if at all possible. You would be amazed at how healing it can be for the mind and body to take a walk together, watch a movie, or just sit around and laugh with a group of friends.
- Offer to help them find resources and information about treatment, expenses, insurance, support groups, doctors, and services.
- Introduce them to any organizations that provide emotional and practical support in the community, or reach out yourself to learn more about what arrangements can be made to help your friend or their family members.
- If you want to help, and the patient is so inclined, pray together or separately. Letting someone know you are praying for them often provides welcome emotional support and comfort to people getting cancer treatments.
- Ask if you can do small daily tasks for your friend with cancer – You can take care of errands, putting the kids to bed, or doing laundry to help take some responsibility off their plate when they are not feeling well.
- And finally, use words and actions to remind your friend that you love them, support them, and care about their cancer journey.
These are just some of the ways you can help a friend who has cancer. The truth is that everyone handles cancer differently and their needs might change based on their circumstances. What is certain is that people with cancer need support. Doing something, anything, to let them know you care is always a good idea.
Put Together a Cancer Care Team
If possible, coordinate a group of people or team – friends, family members, and neighbors who might want to help. For example, you can coordinate volunteers to create a healthy menu and participate in a meal chain or collect gift cards for local restaurants that deliver.
You can also create schedules for making calls, carpooling, running errands, and dropping off little gifts. The more friends and family that help, the more support the patient has.
Having a team of people provides other benefits. It creates a community of helpers that support each other as they deal with their friend’s diagnosis.
Having multiple helpers lets everyone take a break if they feel burnt out or have things to tend to in their own life.
Send Cancer Gift Baskets To Your Friend With Cancer
Sending gifts is another great way to show you care to someone undergoing chemo or radiation treatments. We have cancer gift baskets containing items that people getting treatment find helpful and comforting.
At Rock the Treatment, you can be sure that receiving one of our cancer gift baskets will bring a smile to your friend’s face and make them feel loved and supported.
If someone you love has cancer, send them 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.