Ways to Help a Loved One with Breast Cancer

July 7, 2015

Has someone you love been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, or any other illness? Sometimes it’s hard to know the right thing to do or say. That’s why Health posted an article entitled “22 Ways to Help a Friend with Breast Cancer” to offer advice on how to support people with breast cancer through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. To create their list, they talked to many breast cancer survivors about their experience and what helped them the throughout their journey.

Now, we’ve compiled 6 of the 22 ways, to offer quick insight on how to support your loved one. Lets get started!

  1. Learn to listen- Breast cancer survivor Victoria Irwin tells Health that listening was the most helpful thing her friend could have done while she decided what she wanted to do throughout her journey. By listening, her friend helped her think of more questions to ask at doctor’s appointments. Sometimes getting a new pair of ears could help filter important information!
  2. Be a note taker and advocate– Survivor Florence Tweel described her friend as a Godsend for accompanying her to appointments and taking notes so they could look back on them later, especially if Florence needed to pass along the information to her husband at a later time. Personally, I know I can forget every detail of an appointment, and having a note taker sounds like a fantastic way to stay on track!
  3. Follow his or her breast cancer page- Victoria Irwin liked to spend her chemo time alone and save friends’ graciousness for another time. There are online care pages that can be set up so friends and family can build a community where patient updates and schedules can be shared. Care pages include mylifeline.org, caringbridge.org, and lostahelpinghands.com. Dawn Bontempo says a blog was an easier way for her to ask for help and keep people in the loop.
  4. Give them phone numbers: Survivor Anne Steele says she didn’t always like hearing survivor stories secondhand, so she preferred to be given their contact information so she could call when she was ready. She felt talking to survivors was very helpful. On the other hand, Mary Vaughan says she preferred email pen pals who could be there at any time of the day.
  5. Keep it light: For many people, it’s important to keep their friend’s spirit up with a light-hearted approach. Sue Murrian says her friend sent her press-on-tattoos to put on her breasts and surprise her radiation technicians. Dawn Bontempo’s office made her a cake that said “Go Kick Cancer’s Ass!” Anne Steel said her friends made a cake of a picture of her with green hair on her bald head, and she loved it. Aimee Johnson said she received small gifts from her friends, such as a book to read or new movie to watch, every time she went to chemo. Anything to distract their friends for a little while was appreciated!
  6. Help make life normal for their kids Survivor Hillard says she was extremely grateful anytime anyone offered to do anything for her children because it can be hard to keep their lives normal when she’s going through treatments. One of Hillard’s friends would drive her daughter to her dance class to make sure she didn’t miss any activities or get bored at home, and one neighbor took her kids grocery shopping. Hillard says it’s normal stuff that’s the most important.

We hoped this help give you some ideas! If you have had breast cancer or know someone who has, let us know how you helped him or her or what you found most helpful!

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