When a friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer, we frequently find ourselves at a loss for words. Unfortunately, there are no rules for talking to someone with cancer. But you can keep a few things in mind to ensure the conversation goes smoothly and you show your support.
Allowing yourself some space to acknowledge and process the news is the first step. Once you’ve accepted it, ensure your loved one is open to discussing the diagnosis. Please spend some time and effort understanding their situation to avoid making assumptions.
If you’re struggling to find the right things to do, here are seven things that will make a difference.
1. Offer to help
Dealing with cancer can be exhausting and tiresome. Instead of asking your loved one how you can assist, tell them exactly what you can do. Let them know you’re there to help them get through the treatment while they focus on getting better as soon as possible.
2. Spread some cheer
As we’ve all heard a million times, laughter is the best medicine. While meeting your loved one, relive happy memories, and share a good laugh. This would not only distract them from their diagnosis but would also lift their spirits.
3. Visit often
There is nothing better than being there for someone. If you can meet your loved one in person regularly, do so instead of communicating over the phone. Humans thrive on personal interactions, especially with people they trust and love.
4. Keep them motivated
Your loved one may experience various side effects during the treatment, including hair loss, weight loss, and so on. This may have an impact on their self-esteem. Focusing on or reminding them of their strengths can be empowering. Your encouraging words will boost their confidence.
5. Lend an ear
Sometimes all people want is to be heard. Make sure you give your loved ones enough time and that you listen to what they have to say. Allow them to lose their inhibitions and discuss their problems with you without fear of being judged.
6. Share encouraging stories
Share success stories of long-term cancer survivors to encourage your loved ones. Avoid direct comparison, as no two diagnoses are the same. Instead, if you know someone who has survived cancer similar to your loved ones, offer to connect the two. Be mindful of sharing stories with unhappy endings that might discourage or diminish your loved one’s spirit.
7. Avoid saying this
While there are several ways that we like to call those who have cancer – brave, fighter, victim, etc., a new survey by Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed certain descriptions aren’t always appreciated, however well-intentioned. 60% of people dislike being described as a “fighter.”
Seek help when needed
When you are caring for a loved one affected by cancer on your own, you may find yourself with a lot on your plate. This could get overwhelming and cause caregiver fatigue. If you require additional support in caregiving responsibilities, please visit www.affinityseniorcare.com or call our expert caregivers at 248-363-8430.
Additional Cancer Care Resources:
Cancer Care: Why Hire Home Help for Cancer Patients