How Do You Help a Loved One Going Through Cancer?
Having a loved one diagnosed with cancer can be devastating for both you and the person with the diagnosis. Once you have begun to deal with the struggle that is inherent to any type of life-threatening disease, you may be wondering how you can best support your friend or family member. There have been many studies that have shown that those with cancer who have a strong emotional support team around them are better able to adjust to the challenges that cancer throws their way. They also tend to have a better outlook regarding their diagnosis and claim to have a better quality of life while they are undergoing treatment. This research clearly shows that support from supportive people like you can greatly help your loved ones.
However, everyone is different and everyone has different needs when they are struggling. There are a variety of different things that you can do to support someone as they work through this period of their life. Spending one on one time with your loved one will help you to learn what sort of things that they need before you jump into helping in the ways that you feel most comfortable with.
Supporting a Friend Who is Struggling With Cancer
Finding out that someone that you care about has cancer can be incredibly difficult. After you have processed some of your own feelings and fears about your loved one going through cancer therapy or possibly dying, you can work to focus on your friend and how you can support them. There are many different ways that your loved one may deal with this diagnosis but you should expect far less energy and focus from them while they are struggling.
At first, you may find that you struggle with what you should say or do but being open to suggestions and criticisms will go a long way when it comes to this. Know that you are there for them is going to be the most important aspect of support that your friend will need.
It is important to remember that every person with cancer has different experiences so you will need to stay open to their changing feelings and emotions and be prepared to address each one. They may not have a way to talk about their cancer or the ways that their lives have changed since their diagnosis. Work to not take anything personally as they continue their treatments or prepare for their life after cancer.
Questions And Answers
Q: Can I Help Them Choose Treatments?
A: If you are close with your loved one, you should be able to help them when it comes to picking a treatment option. It can be difficult for people to make decisions during this time so you can offer to do research on them before they make any choices.
Take some time to research all the treatment options that are available for their particular type of cancer. Look into therapies that can help support them during their treatments or after they have completed the suggested courses of medication. Massages and other care can greatly relieve stress that is built up in their body and can help them relax. Find options that work with their health insurance if they have any so that they don't have to research these options.
Q: Should I Offer In-Home Support
A: Yes! One of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation is that people quickly become tired and listless. While your friend may have the best intentions regarding cleaning or cooking, they may not have the energy and they may be too embarrassed to ask for help.
Depending on your relationship, you can either ask them if you can complete certain tasks or just show up and do them with. Offering to pick up the house, run errands, make meals, or do the laundry are easy ways to ensure that your loved one knows that you care about them and are willing to take care of anything that comes up for them.
Q: Should I Offer Rides?
A: Rides are incredibly important if your loved one is undergoing any type of treatment. Treatments and physical therapy are draining and they should not be driving after they have undergone them. Even if they, or their partner, have a car you can offer to give them rides whenever they need them to reduce the stress on their family and their finances.
Q: Should I Give Them Gifts?
A: Most people love gifts and there are many ways that you can show that you care with gifts both big and small. You can purchase them in home massages or wigs for if they lose their hair or pick them up a food delivery service. Flowers and cards are frequently received well and are a quick and inexpensive way to remind your friend that you are thinking of them.
One of the biggest things that cancer patients struggle with is the sense that their friends aren't thinking of them. Because of this, the biggest gift that you can offer your friend who is going through cancer is your presence.
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