Caring for Someone with Cancer

When a close friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer, it can be hard to know how to help. Below are some tips on how to turn your love and support into action.

1. Help Your Loved One Get the Best Treatment

One of the best ways you can help someone is to make sure they’re getting the right treatment. With their permission, you may help a close friend or family member explore treatment options or get a second opinion. Offer to accompany them to appointments to take notes and provide moral support.

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2. Listen and Be Present

At this vulnerable time, it can be difficult to know what to say. It’s more important to listen than to talk. You can’t expedite treatment or change the seriousness of the situation. You can facilitate healing through emotional support.

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3. Offer Practical Help 

Instead of offering a general hand for help, focus on tangible things you can do. Help with housework, errands, childcare, meal prep and other activities can make a big difference for someone going through treatment. Websites like MealTrain and Lotsa Helping Hands offer practical tools and great ideas for creating a care community.

4. Keep Things Normal

Above all else, most people want to preserve a sense of normalcy. Although it’s natural to want to take over tasks, listen to your loved one’s wishes to do “normal activities” and help only if they wish. When people feel capable and able to manage their regular responsibilities, it can offset the feeling that a cancer diagnosis is taking over their life.

5. Support through Giving

There are many opportunities to give on behalf of someone you love. Here are two that help patients of The Ghosh Center:

  • Anna Purna Ghosh Foundation – Provides financial assistance for prescriptions and prosthetics to cancer and blood disorder patients who are Iowa residents

  • Blesie Tree Foundation – Assists patients and their families with everyday expenses to improve their quality of life