5 Ways to Be a Good Friend to Someone with Breast Cancer

How to Help a Friend With Breast Cancer


  1. Understand you role in the situation.You can not expect to cure or fix the problem, and you cannot expect to understand what they are feeling or thinking. Someone who feels threatened by death, possible complications in the case of surgery, or that is soon to undergo cancer treatments experience a variety of very strong emotions. You should be there to support them. Your priority is to take care of them while they feel like they are in in a scared, helpless state. Not all breast cancer patients behave like this, but it is not unusual.
  2. Comfort them.Your friend might not know how they feel. A feeling of numbness can set in during the initial weeks of diagnosis, surgery, and treatment. Strange things may surface in their minds when they feel close to death, or they may imagine breast removal so horrible that they can never be a whole person again.
  3. Understand their situation.Emotions may be uncontrollable. Understand that their priorities may change, as well as their behavior. It's not easy to talk when your mind is preoccupied. Assume they are scared and can be irrational and, if any fights arise, do what you can to resolve them and know that it isn't important and might not actually have anything to do with you.
  4. Support them, no matter what.Be prepared and willing to help and comfort them when they need it, and to distance yourself when they need space. If their condition worsens, be ready for them to spend long nights in hospitals. Be willing to do tasks for them they cannot manage in their current state of mind. However, sometimes all that is needed is your presence, that's all.
  5. Tell them that you are there to help.Try to make things simple. If you can promise them that nothing will be too much trouble, and that they can call you anytime, day or night. Make sure to clarify any limitations on this agreement due to children or other family obligations up front.
  6. Remember that this is not the time for horror stories.If you have a relative or family member who has been through this, let them know. Leave out disheartening information such as painful deaths, suicides, gruesome and rare side effects, or other tragic tales. There is a proven connection between a person's mental and emotional state and their physical health.
  7. Prepare in advance.When a hospital visit is necessary, everything should be organized. An overnight bag with several of their favorite items and some things to do such as knitting, reading, or drawing, are always a great idea.
  8. Be clothes conscious.Stick to comfortable, soft clothes which button or have a zipper in the front. Exclude clothes or pajamas that are meant to flaunt or expose breasts or curves, as this is not the time.
  9. Bring relevant documents with you every time you visit.Doctors may need to ask you for information. Start a binder with all diagnoses, biopsy and test results, prescriptions, and instructions and add to it every visit.
  10. Make sure that their children are taken care of.Do your best to insure that their kids are looked after. Have bags packed with things such as toys and snacks for when they visit their mom or dad in the hospital. Hospitals are boring and rarely sell food or snacks 24 hours a day. Most don't have facilities where kids can play or sleep or sit.
  11. Set money aside.Save as much as you can spare without punishing yourself. It helps to have cash late at night, when an ATM is not around. You may need the babysitter or nanny to pick up the kids, or a taxi and take the kids home, food, or any other unforeseen problem.
  12. Ask about your friend's dietary needs.If the hospital allows it, organize some well-made home cooked food, or get some "take-away," food from any decent restaurant that you take home with you without sitting. Most restaurants allow this, even when not advertised, just don't confuse it with delivery.
  13. Bring get well gifts.If you do bring chocolate, understand that they may be avoiding sugar, as it has been associated with tumor growth.
  14. Limit the number of people in the hospital room.Most rooms have only few chairs next to the bed, and with a group of five visitors, three people could be standing for hours. Everyone will be uncomfortable, tired, and stressed. However, five visitors shortly after surgery are probably too many. Anesthesia and pain medications could make the patient only semi-conscious for hours. If this many family and friends want to hold vigil at the hospital, take over a corner of the waiting room.
  15. Don't talk about personal things in front of everybody.Privacy is underrated in a hospital bed.
  16. Find out everything about the treatment plan.Find out about all the medications needed. Learn everything you can. Bad stuff happens, and it's always good to know what pills to pick up when they run out of the "white circle ones."
  17. Learn about the post-operative surgery.Sometimes, removal of the entire breast is not necessary, but any breast cancer patient will think about feeling incomplete and unattractive post-op. The truth is that there is also a lot of surgery to recover the physical shape and appearance of breast cancer related surgery. Even in the worst case of the most severe amputation, a new breast can be constructed near identical to the original, with the exception of being unable to lactate and breast feed.

Video: How to talk to friends about your breast cancer

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Date: 06.12.2018, 18:41 / Views: 62554