You just received a call from someone very close to you. A family member or good friend shared the devastating news that they have been diagnosed with cancer.
You are probably feeling pretty shocked and saddened that your loved one must deal with the condition. But you also know that you want to be there for them in any way possible.
At the same time, this is a first for you. You have never navigated the territory of someone you love going through this kind of hardship, and you have no clue how to act around them or how to ask what they need.
A cancer diagnosis is obviously most difficult for the one who has received it, but it can also be hard for those that surround them and just want to help.
Here are four ways to help someone you love after a cancer diagnosis that can also serve as a launching point for the support that they will need in the next couple of months or years.
The very first thing you can do for your friend and family member is to actually just be there for whatever they need.
In difficult situations, people can feel like they don’t know how to act. Therefore, they won’t reach out to the person who is sick because they don’t want to seem weird around them.
In reality, the last thing that this person wants is to feel more alone than they probably already do. So even though it may seem weird or strange, just be there for them. Be honest with them when you don’t know what to do or say. They probably won’t know either, but they will be appreciative of your support and company.
Take care of the miscellaneous
When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, the last thing they want to worry about is the dishes they left in the sink or soccer pick-up next week.
As their new support system through this crisis, you can take care of those everyday, mundane things without them asking. When they come home from a treatment or from a doctor’s visit and find them done, they will be so grateful. Now, they don’t have to worry about any tasks at hand.
Research with them
Once they receive a cancer diagnosis, some people want to find out all they can about their diagnosis. This includes all the possible research and studies being done on it.
Offer to help your loved one with that research. Look up places like tetoncancer.com or other institutes that treat different types of cancers and see what methods they have for different types of treatments. You can also look at the major cancer research sites such as the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.
Be their research buddy and they will be happy to have another set of eyes to help them process and battle through.
Your loved one will likely have to sit through a lot of doctors’ appointments. They will be meetings with oncologists, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy.
Since everyone else’s lives don’t seem to be halted in the same way as theirs, they might feel guilty asking someone to accompany them to all of these.
When you can, be that support person for them through all the crazy appointments. Offer to bring games, books, food, or their favorite movies to pass the time. They will be grateful to have support through it all. Plus, you will get to spend time with someone you love at a difficult time in their life.