October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, in addition to raising awareness it is important to keep in mind how to help out someone who has cancer and what to avoid. Here is a list of ways you can support someone facing this disease.
Be Present– The worst thing you can do is to not be around because of not knowing how to respond. Never disappear because you feel awkward. Reach out to the person just to show them that you are there to support them and that you truly care.
Offer Support- Helping out with the smallest activities can mean the most. Be available to talk, babysit, run errands, sit with them at appointments, etc. Volunteering to do small tasks can help make your friend’s life much easier.
Preparing and Bringing Meals- Bringing meals to the family is a great way to help out and show support. See if you can coordinate with other neighbors/ friends and create a meal drop off system, that way all the meals are organized and the family receives one a day.
What to avoid…
Giving Advice- It is not your situation, nor are you going through the same thing as the patient. Avoid giving advice and just stick with offering to help out. If your friend chooses to tell you personal aspects then be there to listen, but it is never appropriate to offer your opinion on their situation. Do not minimize their diagnosis and offer treatment advice that you think would be best suited for them either. That responsibility belongs to the patient’s doctor.
Discussing their Diagnosis with Others- It is never your place to discuss someone else’s diagnosis with others. Keep their private information to yourself. Coordinate with others about how to support the patient is helpful but talking about their status and problems with others is never acceptable.
If you know someone battling cancer, make sure you follow these tips to feel more comfortable and supportive during this process.