7 Heartwarming Ways Friends and Relatives Can Rally Around a Loved One with Cancer

Cancer is a difficult and challenging illness, and it can be overwhelming for both the patient and their loved ones. When someone close to us is diagnosed with cancer, we often feel helpless and unsure of how to support them during this difficult time. However, there are several things that friends and relatives can do to support and encourage a patient who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Listen Actively

One of the most important things that friends and relatives can do is to listen actively to the patient. Encourage the cancer patient to share their feelings and concerns, and be an attentive listener. Active listening can help them feel heard and validated. You can show that you are actively listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and asking questions to show that you are engaged in the conversation.

Offer Practical Help

Cancer treatment can be a long and exhausting process, and patients may struggle with managing day-to-day tasks. Offer to run errands, provide transportation to medical appointments, cook meals, or help with household chores. Practical assistance can alleviate stress and allow the patient to focus on their treatment.

Be Positive

Encourage the patient to stay positive and hopeful. Positive attitudes can have a beneficial effect on health outcomes. However, it’s important not to invalidate the patient’s feelings or dismiss their concerns. Instead, try to offer words of encouragement and hope.

Offer Emotional Support

Cancer can be emotionally challenging, so it’s essential to offer emotional support. Let the patient know that you are there for them and provide a shoulder to cry on when needed. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and offer support and empathy.

Respect Their Privacy

Some patients may not want to talk about their cancer diagnosis, and it’s crucial to respect their privacy. Don’t push them to discuss their diagnosis if they’re not comfortable. Instead, let them know that you are there to support them in any way you can.

Stay in Touch

Check in with the patient regularly, even if it’s just a quick text or phone call. Regular contact can help the patient feel supported and connected. Let them know that you are thinking of them and that they are not alone.

Offer to Accompany Them to Appointments

Going to medical appointments alone can be intimidating for some cancer patients. Offer to accompany them to appointments, take notes, and ask questions on their behalf. This can help the patient feel more at ease and ensure that they have a support system during their medical appointments.

In conclusion, cancer is a challenging illness, and supporting a loved one through this difficult time is crucial. Friends and relatives can offer practical help, emotional support, and encouragement to help the patient cope with the diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to listen actively, respect their privacy, stay in touch, and offer to accompany them to appointments. These actions can help alleviate stress, provide emotional support, and ensure that the patient feels heard and validated. Most importantly, be there for them in any way you can and let them know that they are not alone in their battle against cancer.

References:

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Constipation (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/constipation/constipation-hp-pdq

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. (n.d.). Coping with constipation during chemotherapy. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/files_trust/constipation%20during%20chemotherapy.pdf

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Constipation. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/symptoms-causes/syc-20354253

American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Managing Constipation. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/constipation/managing.html

UpToDate. (n.d.). Patient education: Chemotherapy side effects (Beyond the Basics). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/chemotherapy-side-effects-beyond-the-basics