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8 Ways to Help a Loved One with Breast Cancer

06 October 2016
8 Ways to Help a Loved One with Breast Cancer -  breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many of you might be in the position where someone very close to you has been diagnosed with breast cancer and you want to help but may be uncertain about exactly what to do. There are so many ways to help someone going through cancer as this is definitely no one-size-fits-all answer.

House of York has put together 8 ways from health.com on how you can help support and encourage a friend, family member or college when fighting cancer:

1. Keep up their spirits

Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation can consume a lot of energy and emotions, that’s why it’s important to help keep things light by putting together cancer care packages. There are some amazing ideas on Pinterest on putting together different types of care packages, from writing supportive letters and quotes, to lip balm, favourite treats, DVDs, and books. Anything that will help keep their spirits high and show them that you are behind them every step of the way.

2. Deliver groceries to their door

Many cancer patients go off food during chemotherapy and become very picky about what they do and do not want to eat. So instead of sending baked lasagne rather deliver groceries to their door. A great way to do this is by visiting them and writing down everything they like to eat. For example, full cream milk, rye bread and all the brands they like. You can then email the list to all their friends and family members so when they go to the grocery store they will know what to buy. You don’t have to stop with only buying food, you can also look at what detergents, cleaning supplies and soaps are needed.

3. Help them with their kids

The number one concern with breast cancer patients is what will happen to their children while they are trying to fight this long strenuous battle, as they want to keep their lives as normal as possible. Here you can offer to have their kids over for play dates, do their homework for them or take them to the park. It’s the normal day to day stuff that’s important.

4. Help them set up a support network

Technology is seen to offer cancer patients one of the best gifts as it offers them an opportunity to be connected to a large online support group. You can help your friend set up a blog for them to write about their treatment and recovery progress. They can then spread the word and blog link with friends and family colleagues via a Facebook post. This way everyone can keep informed and also provides an opportunity for them to show their support and encouragement.

5. Give numbers from other cancer survivors

Hearing second-hand information of people who you know you have survived breast cancer isn’t always as helpful and uplifting as speaking to them directly. Rather ask the cancer survivor if they would be willing to talk to your friend and if you can give them their number. This gives cancer patients a lot more hope as they can ask more personal questions to someone who has gone through the same battle as them. It can also be very comforting to have a support system of other people who have survived a disease you are trying to fight.

6. Distract them with little surprises

Every time your friend goes for chemo gives them a gift of distraction to take their mind off the treatment. You can do this by having surprises waiting for them for example a DVD to watch, flowers to take home or a book to read. This will help them to not only revolve their days around the treatment, as they can now turn their thoughts to the little surprises which await them when they return home. It’s the small distractions which help one feel normal and loved.

7. It’s okay to ask for help

Women are so used to being the givers and care that it is so hard for them to become the takers and ask for others help even when they need it the most. Many breast cancer patients feel too proud and private to invite people into their homes and life and would rather deal with their misery themselves. It’s up to you to break through this barrier with your friend and tell them it’s okay for them to ask for help as you need to help them as much as they need your help.

8. Don’t forget them when it’s over

The road to recovery for breast cancer patients is a long journey and even when it seems as though your friend is doing much better and doesn’t need you to buy them groceries or look after their children, she still needs your support and encouragement. Remember to check up on her from time to time with a quick phone call or message.

Are you living with cancer, are a survivor or caregiver? What advice can you share with us on your experience? And what was the most helpful thing someone did for you during your cancer treatment? Share with us onFacebook orTwitter.
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