How to help someone with cancer

For people living with cancer, support of friends and family is important in their journey. However, a cancer diagnosis usually catches people by surprise and shifts roles that we are accustomed to. Even though they’re well meaning, people who haven’t struggled with cancer cannot really understand the emotional and physical demands of the illness. With this new territory, there are some tips that can help you support a loved one through their cancer journey.

Consciously listen

Listening to a person with cancer might sound simple, but it can actually be difficult. There’s that feeling of trying to fix things and make everything better but sometimes a listening ear is all that is needed to help them. Allow them to express their feelings, even if these feelings are uncomfortable. You can be sure that if they talk about a heavy topic like death, it is because they have been mulling over it for some time. Allow them to share their thoughts without judgment or interruptions.

Deal with your feelings

Caregivers also experience emotions and fears. They are faced with a lot of tough questions. The best thing will be facing your fears, which will then put you in a better position to listen attentively. There’s also a chance that you might be grieving. If you feel that you’re alone in a spot between maintaining hope and mourning the future, ensure that you read about anticipatory grief.

Help out

For people with cancer, life still goes on even with them receiving treatment and trying to cope with the side effects of this treatment. Bills will accumulate and dust will gather. You can offer to clean their house and they will likely appreciate the assistance. You could also prepare meals for them. Sometimes, cancer treatment can make it hard to swallow food or drinks – getting a good thickener like SimplyThick Easy Mix will make it easier for them to swallow and enjoy meals.

Attend appointments with them

You can show that you care by attending appointments with your loved one. Clinics and hospitals can be troubling places with long waiting times. Bring a notepad and take notes. Ensure that your loved one makes their decisions themselves.

Respect the need for isolation

Sometimes, people with cancer say that they would like to be alone for fear of bothering their loved ones. However, there are times when they definitely mean it. You should monitor visitors too. Your loved one might be tired of the presence of a guest but doesn’t want to make them upset by telling them to leave. If this occurs, gently let them know that your loved one is tired and requires rest.

Gather information

Gathering information should relieve the anxiety levels of people with cancer. You should know how to search online for the disease your loved one is currently facing, take notes and make enquiries at appointments. Be aware that some people ask that their family or friends not share information on alternative treatments or clinical trials. If you have a loved one with this view, try to respect their wishes.

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