How To Support A Friend Who Has Cancer

IMG_7950If you have not experienced cancer yourself, I am sure you know of someone who has.  Being told by a loved one that they have cancer can be a very frightening thing.  This admission makes each of us realize how vulnerable we are and perhaps it could be you getting this diagnosis.  As a result, some of us go into seclusion when we are needed the most because we do not know what to say or do.  As a cancer survivor, let me tell you one of the worse things you can do is to stop contacting your loved one.  It is quite alright to say, you don’t know what to say, but please let your friend know you are there for them.

If you have a friend who is single and perhaps do not have any family nearby, please offer to go with them to their doctor’s appointment and maybe even record the visit.  A cancer patient is so overwhelmed with all the information they are given, not to mention the emotional toll this illness can cause, what is heard probably goes in one ear and out the other.   Below are a few other tips to assist your friend through this journey.

  • Do not assume it is ok to visit your friend when you want to.  Cancer treatment takes a lot out of a person and trying to entertain you while they are not feeling well is not a good idea.
  • Celebrate milestones – If you friend has to undergo chemotherapy, it is possible they are unable to eat or they cannot enjoy their food.  In between treatments, offer to take them out to eat something they enjoy.
  • Please make sure you treat them the same.  Do not let cancer spoil the wonderful relationship you had before the diagnosis.
  • Find ways to help.  If you have a friend who is very independent, it is possible they need assistance but is too proud to ask for it.  Make arrangements to have their house cleaned or food prepared for them and/or their family so they will not have to cook.
  • Don’t forget to continue to laugh together when appropriate.  Be humorous and have light conversations or share a funny story to brighten their day.
  • Make a phone call or text message to let them know you are thinking of them.  If you do this, let them know it is okay if he or she does not reply.   While going through cancer treatment, your friend may not want to see you as often as she used to.

On the other hand, there are things you definitely should not say.

  • I’m sure you will be fine.
  • Don’t worry.
  • I know just how  you feel.
  • How long do you have?

Friendships are very important even after cancer treatment.  The patient still needs encouragement and support.  Your friend will now have a “new normal” and your friendship can make a very important role in this acceptance.

best friends 2


Feel free to check out and refer cancer patients to my website.  There is a wealth of resources for not just the cancer patient, but the caregiver as well.  Everything from financial support, to empowerment as well as retreat information.  My website address is

Lastly, we all have a time clock that is ticking and we don’t know when it will stop.  Therefore, until next time, I challenge you to DARE TO LIVE BOLDLY!



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