No one ever wants to hear the horrible phrase, “You have cancer.” Cancer is a terrible disease that can be difficult to fight. With so many different variations and treatment plans, no two people’s cancer journey is going to look the same. If you have a loved one who was diagnosed with cancer and is going through treatment, you may be wondering how you can best be there to support them.
It’s hard to see someone you love so dearly go through something painful. But there are plenty of ways you can help. From understanding the ins and outs of their diagnosis to helping with practical tasks to being a listening ear, you can show up for your friend or family member in new ways. Show your support in numerous different ways as they fight this tough illness. Also remember, you are going through a trying time as well. It may be beneficial to have your own support system that you can also turn to on dark days. Overall, there are so many ways to support a loved one’s cancer journey. Let’s look at just five ideas below.
1. Help research and understand their treatment plan.
Cancer is a tricky illness with many different strains and variations. Depending on the location and stage of cancer, an oncologist may recommend different forms of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or other experimental treatments. For someone who doesn’t understand all the nuances of medical treatment, these terms and treatment plans can seem incredibly intimidating.
One way you can support your loved one is by learning all you can about their cancer and the options for cures. From understanding the side effects of chemo to trying new treatments like infusion therapy, it can be helpful to know the facts. This will also mean your loved one doesn’t have to explain everything about their journey. You’ll be completely caught up and ready to help in whatever way you can.
2. Offer practical help for home deliveries.
When someone is going through a serious treatment plan, they may not have the time or energy to handle regular tasks or errands. Chemotherapy and radiation can take a lot out of someone, so they won’t be able to cook nutritious meals or go shopping for the fresh produce that could help them feel better. Maybe you can set them up with a meal delivery service or a meals program you set up in your community.
Something as simple as home delivered meals can take away added stress from the cancer patient so they can focus on healing instead of stressing about the small stuff. Typically, you can deliver even more than food and to a wide array of places. You can even look into home water delivery services that can bring gallons of spring water or even a water cooler to the patient’s home or directly to the hospital. Whether they’re struggling to make their own meals or to get clean water, you can help by setting up delivery services.
3. Reach out to your loved one’s community for love and support.
Dealing with a tough diagnosis isn’t something anyone should have to go through alone. Support your loved one by bringing in all the important people in their life for added love. Reach out to the community for donations to help with medical expenses or to help run errands for the patient. When a whole team of people is fighting together, that single patient can feel stronger, more loved, and well supported in their journey.
4. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.
Any patient dealing with cancer is most likely going to go through plenty of different emotions. When your loved one is feeling doubt, anxiety, or fatigue, one way you can help is by simply being there. Show your support by being a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.
Sometimes, people don’t need solutions, they just need someone to hold their hand and tell them everything is going to be okay. This is one of the greatest services you can give to someone going through cancer. While you can never know exactly what they’re going through, you can show them that there is someone there who wants to listen and love them.
5. Bring laughter and positivity whenever possible and appropriate.
People often treat cancer as a completely somber and sad thing. While it is definitely a difficult journey, constant negativity can actually weigh on your physical health. As you support your loved one on their journey, remember to laugh and find joy in small moments.
Whether you’re sitting with someone at their chemotherapy appointment or enjoying a meal after a stay in the hospital, remember that it is okay to still laugh and smile and enjoy good memories. Sometimes this is the best treatment to remind someone that they are a person first and their diagnosis second.