Supporting a Friend Through Treatment

If you have just been given the devastating news that someone close to you has been diagnosed with cancer you may not be sure how to feel. Angry, upset, sad, panicky, fearful?......pretty much anything and everything goes, and any feeling you have is within the realms of normality.

Sometimes it can be nearly as difficult for those who are very close to the person diagnosed (for varying reasons) as it is for the actual person who has been given the diagnosis. Those who have been diagnosed know what the doctors have said, how they feel, what decisions they may make and why. On the other hand close relatives and friends cannot necessarily be there all the time, at every appointment, and do not know how their friend / relative really feels, regardless of what they are told and that can sometimes make for feelings of inadequacy.

One question that most people first ask is "How can I help?" but in this situation many people are not sure what they can do. 

Practical help

At first diagnosis - if you are popping round to see your friend don't expect them to make lunch! If you are planning on a cuppa - offer to make it but make sure you wash your hands first!

With our basic needs of food, warmth and shelter. Does your friend have all these things? If not, can you help for example by making extra of whatever you are having for dinner and dropping it round so they / their family do not need to cook. Could you batch cook something they could put in the freezer?

Is there childcare that is required? School drop off or pick up?  Could you have the kids back for a play date and make them tea? Can you help with lifts to appointments? 

Try not to talk only about the diagnosis and tell your friend what you have been up to. Hearing about every day life really can help.

If your friend has recently had surgery they will not be able to lift anything heavy - this includes the kettle!

Is it possible for you to mow the lawn? Help with the washing up or the cleaning?

Don't outstay your welcome. One of the side effects of most cancer treatments can be extreme tiredness and fatigue.

Products and what you can buy to help

When you are diagnosed, at each stage, you are required to get certain products. More can be found here..........

Supporting a friend through chemotherapy

Supporting a friend through radiotherapy

Supporting a friend when staying in hospital