October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will develop this disease in her lifetime. With so many mothers, daughters, wives, nieces, aunts and grandmothers being affected, it’s important to show them how much we care and support them throughout their entire cancer journey–from diagnosis to remission.
Studies show that cancer survivors can better adjust to the life changes cancer brings if they feel well supported by family and friends. They often have a more positive outlook on life than patients who do not feel supported.
But what happens if you don’t know where to start with providing support for breast cancer patients? Here are some tips to show your love to a friend or family member who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.
What Can I Do for a Friend with Breast Cancer?
One of the best things to do to show breast cancer support is to be there for your friend. Keep in touch as often as comfortable for your loved one. Text, call, or email her often, and try to find a time that works best for her. Keep it short if you need to.
Visit when the time is right. Call before you arrive, and be okay with rescheduling if your friend asks. Try to understand the dynamics of your friendship and continue to be the kind caring friend your loved one needs.
Say the right things—or just listen
If you don’t know what to talk about with your friend with cancer, let her talk about things she enjoys. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have someone there to listen. Allow your friend to express her emotions and be open to hug, laugh, cry, smile—whatever is appropriate for the moment.
Avoid telling her how to feel or how to approach the treatment. Also, if she doesn’t want to talk about the diagnosis and treatment, you don’t have to. Provide a space in which she’ll always feel comfortable in your company.
Offer your help
Offer to help your friend with any chores like running errands, cooking meals, stopping by the grocery store, cleaning the house, babysitting the kids, picking up medication, driving to the doctor’s office, and more. When you promise to help, always be reliable.
Accompany them to medical appointments
Often, breast cancer patients find it comforting to have a close loved one at doctor appointments with her. This doctor appointment companion can take notes, ask questions, or just be there to hold a hand.
Gift little surprises
A cute, thoughtful gift for a friend with breast cancer can be a much-needed distraction during a patient’s journey. If you want to give your loved one a little surprise, consider an interesting book to read, a spa basket, her favorite snack, a cozy robe, or even a card that says, “I’m thinking about you.”
Attend a support group with them
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada offers support groups to create a safe space for our patients to express their emotions and hear stories from other patients. It’s also another great way to show your support for breast cancer patients. Consider attending a breast cancer support group with your loved one to help her feel more comfortable.
The Las Vegas Breast Cancer Support Group for Breast Cancer Survivors meets at Comprehensive’s Central Valley location on the third Thursday of every month from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Social worker, Margo Otto, leads each group. RSVP by calling (702) 952-3400 ext. 13729.
If your close friend or loved one has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact Comprehensive to learn more about breast surgery, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as tips for offering support for breast cancer patients.