How you can help someone with cancer
Hearing that someone you know has cancer often leaves you in shock. For you, perhaps this is the first time that you have experienced such a situation. What to say? What to do? How to behave?
Start by listening
Not sure what to say? It’s correct! The person themselves might not want to speak, but will not necessarily refuse your visit. Often, just the fact that you sit calmly with the other is enough. It’s your presence that matters most. If neither of you feels like talking, you can still help out with something you can do together: take a short walk, watch a movie, listen to music, or whatever else you like. gathered the first time.
If the person wants to talk, be prepared to listen. If you don’t know what to say, let him take the initiative. You don’t have to give advice or opinions if she doesn’t ask you for it. Don’t pressure yourself. Just be there for each other.
Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing
There comes a time when, even if we are uncomfortable, we have to talk. There are no perfect words, but it is much better to start the conversation with “How are you feeling?” Than “How are you?” What is appropriate is to use words that express interest, concern, encouragement and support.
Here are other examples:
I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know that you mean to me.
I often think of you.
I’m sorry about what happened to you.
Avoid words that don’t help. People with cancer don’t want to be told that someone else has had the same cancer and that it was horrible, or that they don’t have to worry because they have “good cancer”. Even if you have had cancer yourself, remember that each case is different. Never say you know exactly how the other person is feeling.
Learn about the type of cancer the person has
There are many forms of cancer, all of which have different effects. The person may not want to explain their diagnosis to you because doing it over and over is psychologically and physically exhausting.
Learn more about over 100 types of cancer .
You could also talk to their caregiver or a mutual friend to get the important facts. But you will be far from knowing everything. No one is affected in the same way by cancer and its treatment.
Prepare for a change in appearance and behavior. The person may have lost hair or gained weight, or be exhausted from the treatment. Think about the last time you were scared or very sick. How did you want to be treated? Take your own advice.
Make sure the time is right for a visit
A visit to the person with cancer can cheer you both up and give caregivers a much-needed break. Remember to always contact the person first to make sure your visit is suitable for them. Give him the option of saying no.
His decision may also have changed when you arrive. If the person is suddenly too tired, brooding, or in pain to visit, never see it as an attack on you. Tell him it’s okay, that you understand and that you will call back to pick up on another time.
Only go see the person if you have enough time. A climate of haste will not be beneficial to any of you. Close your phone and put it away, then give the other full attention.