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How to support someone battling cancer

Health By Esther Muchene

Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer need a lot of support. If someone you know has been diagnosed, it’s necessary to show your support.

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Although they generally need support, you should also be careful with how you approach certain things. It’s easy to assume that everybody wants to be treated a certain way after they have been diagnosed and this could make them feel worse than feel better.

For this reason, you need to plan an approach, especially when it involves someone very close to you. Naturally, it can take a toll on you when you find out someone you love is suffering from a potentially fatal illness.

It is also important to be aware of the different stages that revolve around cancer, especially at the point of diagnosis. Some people are able to detect the illness early while others find out when the cancer has already advanced.

As you keep these different factors in mind, here are some great tips on how to show your support when someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer.

  1. Avoid treating them differently

Being diagnosed with cancer can be emotionally draining for anyone. It can also feel like an emotional strain to be treated like a helpless person after diagnosis. Being treated differently is a constant reminder of the impending effects of having the illness.

You might be tempted to treat a loved one with too much extra care and, in essence, there is nothing wrong with that. However, this might make them feel worse especially when they don’t always want to be treated that way. Try and gauge the situation, and avoid smothering them too much. This will help them maintain a positive attitude throughout as they battle with the illness.

If you can, offer to handle some of their daily tasks (Image: pexels)
  1. Give them time to process

Part of showing support for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer is by giving them space if necessary. At such a time, they need time alone to process what they have been told. At the same time, you might also need to adjust to the news so that you can be in the right head space. It’s best not to bombard them with too much information at this time. Take some time out. Also, handle everything with moderation and avoid taking too long to reach out. This might come off as cold and uncaring.

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  1. Be a good listener

Once they have processed the sad news, they might be more willing to open up to you as a friend. Talking about cancer is a sensitive topic and should, therefore, be handled with care. Ensure that you make them comfortable enough to express themselves as they talk to you. Give them space to express how they feel and listen to them. Listening is considered as one of the most powerful forms of therapy.

Ensure that you make them comfortable enough to express themselves as they talk to you (Image: Alex Holyoake on Unsplash
  1. Offer to help

Depending on how comfortable they are, your loved one might need some assistance when it comes to handling daily tasks. If they are going through intensive treatments, they might not have the time and energy to carry out all the chores they normally would have.

Treatments can often be vigorous and straining to the body. If you can, offer to handle some of their daily tasks such as picking their kids up from school or any other tasks that they aren’t able to handle at that time. This is a great way of showing support.

  1. Check up on them

As a friend or relative to someone suffering from cancer, it’s very encouraging to them to do regular checkups to find out how they are doing. It’s not enough to just checkup once and disappear. Doing that could make them feel abandoned and uncared for, especially when the other people close to them don’t bother. Instead, it’s best to keep constant tabs on them at all times and find out how they are doing. This will go a long way.

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