A cancer diagnosis is life-altering, impacting the individual, their family, and the entire social circle. Emotional support is a major part of recovering from the disease, but while friends of those with cancer often want to help, they don’t always know what to say or do.
How can you help support them through their struggle?
We have gathered the top 10 suggestions given by patients and caregivers in the Belong network:
- Make sure your friend knows they are important to you – no matter how they feel or look.
- Call them periodically. Ask them how they are doing, but also be sure to make small talk. People with cancer want to feel as normal as possible.
- Ask if they need help and what you can do for them.
- Visit your friend, but make sure to check in advance if it is okay for you to come.
- Make sure to not only visit on weekends or holidays but also at times when others may be less likely to show up.
- It can be fun to listen to music, watch a movie, play a game or work on a crossword puzzle together. The important thing is to be together.
- Talk about things that remind both of you of good times. This could be sports, travel, philosophy, childhood or other topics.
- Ask for advice on matters related to your life to allow your friend to feel that they can help you, too. Friendship is a two-way street!
- Do not rush them when they feel exhausted or weak. Pay attention to their feelings.
- Look for ways to help on a regular basis. Even small gestures can go a long way. Above all, stay strong and lend a hand whenever you can. Your friend is lucky to have you by their side.