Cancer comes in many forms and doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, or health. In fact, around 21% of all deaths result from cancer.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never pleasant news, yet it happens all the time. It can happen to you, a relative, or a friend, and it can occur without notice or warning.
It might be hard to know how to respond or react when a friend or relative receives this diagnosis, yet you might want to be there for this person. So how can you support someone close to you after they learn they have cancer?
Here is a guide that might help you learn how to support, encourage, and help your loved one after receiving this news.
Realize You Can’t Fix It
When you’re helping a friend with cancer, you should realize that you can’t fix it. You can’t change the diagnosis or solve the problem.
Even though you know this, it’s quite normal for people to want to step in and save the day. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to fix or mend the situation. However, you can be there for your friend.
Being there for your friend is the best thing you can do to show your love and support. You can also follow the rest of the suggestions as you navigate through supporting your friend’s recent diagnosis.
Be a Good Listener
When people go through tough situations, they might want to talk about it. Therefore, as you learn how to cope with a cancer diagnosis with your friend, you can focus on being a good listener.
Your friend might not want to be alone, so they might ask you to come over. Your friend might want to pour out their feelings about the situation at times. At other times, your friend might not want to talk.
The important thing to remember is to be there to listen when they feel like talking. If your friend doesn’t feel like talking, you can sit with them to show support.
Be Present and Available
As mentioned, a friend who is coping with cancer might want to talk or might not want to talk. You can be a good friend by being present and available in either case.
For example, if your friend calls and wants to talk, be willing to drop what you’re doing to listen and chat with them. You may also want to call or text your friend often without expectations.
For example, you could text, “Hey, I’m thinking of you, friend. If you feel like chatting, I’m around.”
Offering a text like that shows support without demanding anything in return. If your friend feels like calling, they will. If not, they won’t.
Offer to Attend Doctor Visits
As you learn how to help a friend with cancer, you might consider offering to attend doctor visits with them. Going to the doctor alone after being diagnosed with cancer is difficult.
People need support systems to get through these situations, and you can offer help by letting them know that you’ll go with them.
You can attend general doctor visits and take your friend out for lunch afterward. If they have chemotherapy or radiation visits, you could drive them and sit with them during these challenging appointments.
Your friend will appreciate your offering to help with rides and company.
Offer Some Help
Another helpful thing you can do is offer some assistance to your friend. For example, does she need help cleaning her house or doing the laundry? Does he need a good meal?
Everyone’s situation is different, but you’ll know what your friend needs. Therefore, you can offer some services to assist in the ways they might need.
You shouldn’t be surprised if your friend turns down the help. Many people do that, but you should keep offering. At some point, they might agree to accept your help.
Your friend might feel overwhelmed with this news, preventing them from researching it. It might be helpful if you gathered the information for them.
For example, you could research the best doctors in the area for their specific type. You could also look up the best treatment options for it.
Additionally, you could look up ways to feel better after going through chemo or radiation treatments.
Spending time researching these things helps your friend learn more about their options. Additionally, it shows your friend that you care. You can read more about researching doctors and cancer treatments for insight.
Attend or Suggest Support Groups
Support groups help people who are struggling with specific issues.
For example, you can find support groups for recovering alcoholics or drug addicts. Additionally, you can find support groups for people struggling with cancer.
You may want to take some time to find local support groups for people with cancer. Of course, you can suggest them to your friend, but you can also offer to attend the meetings with them.
Attending a good support group can provide the encouragement and support your friend needs as they go through this difficult situation.
Send Notes or Gifts
One last way to show support for your friend is by sending notes or gifts. When you do these things, it shows your friend that you love them and care about them.
For example, you could send morning texts. You could also send a card in the mail once a week or call for flower delivery. Small gestures can make a big difference.
Be an Encouragement After a Cancer Diagnosis
Receiving a cancer diagnosis isn’t the news anyone wants to hear. As a result, it’s hard to know how to be there for a close friend when they hear this news. If you need help with this, you can try following these suggestions.
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