Have a Friend or Family Member With Cancer? 5 Ways That You Can Help by Keri De Deo
Does someone you know have cancer? Do you want to help, but you just don’t know how? Here's a list of helpful tips:
- Talk about it. Cancer is a scary diagnosis, but it shouldn’t be swept under the rug. People going through cancer treatments need to talk about their hopes and fears. It helps them process it. If you’re a survivor, talk about it. If you’re a caregiver, listen. People who listened to me and let me cry on their shoulders will forever be my heroes.
- Send a plant (but not flowers). Many people undergoing cancer treatments are very sensitive to smells, but seeing a living thing is wonderful. Flowers, because of their aroma, may not be a good idea, but a basic green plant can be excellent. My co-workers sent me a large, green plant, and it reminded me that growth takes nurturing.
- Bring meals, but ask first. Cancer treatments can be exhausting, and people try to have a normal life, but they need a break. Set up a meal schedule and take food during chemo days. Ask about diet preferences and provide food that’s not too spicy or aromatic. My favorite go-to meal was rice and beans (without too much spice) wrapped in a flour tortilla.
- Drive them to treatments. Going to treatments can be the hardest part of surviving cancer. Having someone there helps keep anxiety and panic to a minimum.
- Let them relax. Getting treatments can take hours, and at first, you might think it’s a good time to do work or be otherwise productive. But getting cancer treatments can make a person sick. A nurse told me that treatment time was my time to relax. I read my favorite book or just talked to my husband. It turned into a relaxing time despite the reasons for the visits.
Cancer is a scary diagnosis, and a scary time in someone’s life, but it doesn’t have to all be negative or downtrodden. It can be a time to relax and get to know someone a little better. Just don’t stay away. If you’re worried about spreading germs to your sick friend, call them. They’ll love hearing from you and knowing that you care.
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