Breast cancer can be a daunting disease. When a friend or loved one in your life is diagnosed, it
can be hard to know what to do.
How can you help? What can you do? Where do you even start?
These are completely fair and understandable questions. Most of us have never dealt with a
disease like breast cancer before, and it can be tricky to strike the right balance between
helping and giving space for the future cancer survivor in your life to process their battle.
But that said, there are a few things that you can be prepared to do. Here are seven ways to
support the cancer patient or survivor in your life.
1. Remember Everyone’s Battle with Cancer is Different
Breast cancer is a complex disease and it affects everyone differently. As a result, everyone will
respond to both breast cancer and the treatment a little bit differently as well. When supporting
someone in your life who’s battling breast cancer, keep in mind that what’s true for one person
may not be true in every situation.
2. Listen Well
It’s crucial to listen well when it comes to supporting the cancer survivor in your life. What do
they need? What are their pain points? How can you be the biggest help? Asking careful
questions and really, truly listening to what they say will go a long way toward equipping you to
3. Take Care of Errands and Tasks
A cancer treatment cycle can be a time-intensive process. Little day-to-day tasks and errands
can sometimes fall through the cracks as a result. Identifying these tasks and supporting the
cancer survivor in your life by getting them done can lift an enormous burden. It could be as
simple as getting a load of groceries and saving a trip to the grocery store, but the time saved
will be a huge blessing.
However helpful you may want to be, unwanted assistance can be a burden to someone dealing
with cancer. It can be complicated to navigate the needs and wants of the many well-meaning
people attempting to offer support! That’s why it’s important to ask if there’s anything you can do
before springing into action.
5. Offer Support for Children
In many cases, a cancer survivor’s children can also be hard hit by their parent’s disease. Even
as their parent is navigating a life-threatening illness, children still need to go to school and go
through all the daily activities that go along with that particular life stage. If you know someone
battling cancer, helping get their children where they need to be can be an enormous help.
6. Plan a Celebration
Marking milestones with a celebration is a great way to make the journey of the cancer survivor
in your life a little easier. Whether it’s the end of a treatment cycle or an anniversary of being
cancer free, marking their progress through a party (big or small) can make the moment extra
7. Keep Your Relationship Strong — Even After Cancer
Breast cancer can be a traumatic season of life, but for many, that’s just what it is: a season. At
some point, they’ll win their battle with cancer and move on to new things. As a result of this
change, many of the activities and routines you may have developed related to this battle may
disappear. Your friend or loved one may not need the same support they did while they were
battling with cancer, but that doesn’t mean your relationship needs to change!
Make sure you keep devoting time and energy toward maintaining your relationship in your new
post-cancer world. After all, you stood strong together during a battle with cancer. Your time
together after cancer should be even better!