Supporting Someone With A Cancer Diagnosis Part 3

Unfortunately we are all impacted by cancer.  If you aren’t diagnosed with cancer in your lifetime, there is a very high probability someone you care about will be.  The cancer diagnosis can be a very scary and overwhelming journey.  Friends and family often have good intentions but may not know how to help. This week we are discussing how to support someone who has received a cancer diagnosis.  I have multiple family members and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Admittedly, one of the hardest parts of loving these dear ones is me wanting to help, but not knowing how.  Many people will say things like “Let me know how I can help” or “Let me know what you need”.  Although these offers come from a very caring place, to the cancer patient it can feel like an empty offer or something you’re “supposed” to say.

Be specific in your offers to help your friend or family member.  For example, offer to take them to an appointment, bring them dinner, or watch their children.  Be very intentional in offering to do these on specific dates, instead of making an over-encompassing offer of “Just let me know”.  Understand that it can be hard for a cancer patient to ask for help, and they don’t want to inconvenience you.

When my dear friend was diagnosed with cancer one summer, another friend set up a meal, childcare, and driving schedule online.  Using sites like carecalendar.org can help you organize help for the loved one.  Just make sure to include them in the planning so that they don’t feel overwhelmed!

Continue to read this week as we discuss more ways to support someone who has cancer.

Guest post written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling.