Regular colonoscopy procedure and other checkups would help with the early detection of cancer and other chronic diseases which, in turn, would help make the treatment more successful. But still, having a friend or family member with colon cancer or any other form of cancer is hard. It hurts to see anyone you love have to go through something like that. If that person is important to you, then it’s up to you to be there for them throughout this journey. It can be sad, awkward, and hard at times. It’s important, however, to know that your loved one values your friendship. Here are seven ways you can support someone who has cancer.
1.) Create an Open Door Policy
When someone you love is going through cancer treatment, it can be hard for them to reach out and admit that they need help. It’s up to you to let your loved one know that you’re there for them, no matter what, and no matter when. Tell them that there’s an open door policy and they can call you at midnight if they need too. Reassuring them that you’ll always be around is something they will appreciate hearing.
2.) Understand They Won’t Always Be Up For Talking
Going through cancer treatment really takes a toll on a person’s mental and physical health. It’s up to you to understand that there will be times when the relationship is tested. Your friend or family member isn’t always going to feel their best. They might lash out. It’s because they’re going through something frightening and heartbreaking. If they don’t want to talk or see you, don’t take it personally. They might just need their space.
3.) Check On Them Without Being Overbearing
Your loved one with cancer will love knowing they have someone like you that they can rely on. When they’re going through something like this, you checking in on them means a lot. It’s a fine line, though. Sometimes, people don’t want to feel smothered. They don’t want to feel weak and helpless. They want to know that you’re there if they need you, but they also want to know that people still trust them to have some independence.
4.) Don’t Treat Them Like They’re Dying
Everyone is different and only you’ll be able to judge how your loved one is feeling throughout their battle with cancer. Sometimes, they don’t want to be reminded that they’re sick. They get that enough from other people. When they’re hanging out with their friends, they look forward to a sense of normalcy. Therefore, do what you can to recreate the good times before. If you don’t have to drastically change your relationship, don’t. They’re going through enough changes already.
5.) Ask Them What They Need From You
One of the best ways you can support someone is simply by lending an ear. Tell them that you’re there for whatever they need. Ask them if they need your help with anything that will make their life easier. Do they need someone to go to appointments with them? Do they need time to just go for walks and decompress? Do they need help with cooking or cleaning? Ask them how you can support them throughout all of this. It’s easier to be honest and ask instead of guessing and skirting around the subject.
6.) Keep Some Routines The Same
If you can, recreate the same routines you and your friend had before they started their battle with cancer. Sometimes, that means you have to modify them. Did you used to grab brunch at your favorite restaurant on the weekends? If that’s too much, bring the brunch to your friend! Used to get your nails done? Offer to paint their nails.
7.) Surprise Them With Care Baskets
A simple and thoughtful way to show your friend your thinking of them is by surprising them with care baskets. You can leave little baskets on their porch, especially on days when you might know they have chemotherapy. It can be a small way to make them smile.
It’s easy to be a good friend or family member to someone going through cancer. At the end of the day, they just care about you mainly being there. Be supportive, know when they need you, and know when they may need your space.