By Last Updated: October 25th, 2022

How to Support a Loved One With Cancer

When your loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you might go through a variety of emotions, including shock, fear, and confusion. What can I do to help? How can I support a loved one with cancer? You might feel helpless in this situation since you can’t fix it. However, studies show that one of the best ways for people with cancer to have an overall better quality of life and outlook on their diagnosis is when they have a strong support system beside them.

Believe it or not, just by being a good friend you can be of great help to a loved one. This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re outlining some things you can do to help a loved one who recently was diagnosed with cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place every October when organizations and companies come together to put on programs and seminars to encourage people to get screened for breast cancer. Each year, statistics show that 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer as well as 2,400 men. Those who are diagnosed with cancer might be feeling scared or alone, which is why it’s important for them to know they have friends and family behind them every step of the way.

Let Them Lead the Way

You may want to take the reins and ask a million questions, but the best course of action is to allow your friend or loved one to lead the way. Check-in with them, but also give them space to come to you. One of the most important things you can do is listen to their thoughts and feelings during this time.

Provide Food and Sustenance

It’s often the first thing people turn to when something bad happens: food. And there’s a reason for that: in addition to providing strength and energy, it can be of great comfort to people. Sending gift cards, scheduling food delivery for healthy meals from SoCal Fresh Delivery, or even making homemade meals yourself can be a great way to show support. You can also enlist other friends to help you put together a meal train where each friend takes a day to provide food. However, check in with your loved one about what food is best for them (chemotherapy may affect their taste) and also find out if they have any food restrictions. Also, be considerate of delivering food without the expectation of visiting or causing interruption, since they might be resting or feeling unwell.

Transportation to and From Appointments

It might seem mundane, but driving your loved one to and from their doctor’s appointments can be of great assistance, especially if they need someone to do it (or even to relieve a spouse or loved one who usually drives them). They won’t have to worry about getting there or parking and will have someone to talk to on the way there. If they’d rather not have someone they know drive them and they have LA Care or Health Net, you can also schedule transportation for them to the hospital via Health Services of Los Angeles County.

Help Facilitate a Home Cleaning Service During Cancer Treatment

Sometimes the last thing your loved one is thinking about is cleaning their house. Because of this, sometimes they can get behind on taking care of things like cleaning the windows, floors, and bathrooms. Hiring a cleaning service like Los Angeles Housecleaners can lift a burden off their shoulders so they can concentrate on recovering.

woman in hospice care wearing a pink gown holding a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

Gather the Squad

As mentioned before, studies show that the best way to support a loved one with cancer is to be a strong support system. One of the ways you can do this is to gather your loved one’s friends to help out, like creating a gift basket to fill their anticipated needs. For example, chemo and radiation can cause dry skin, so you can ask friends to provide lotions, soft socks, chapstick, and thick moisturizing socks to help your loved one. Since chemo also affects taste, you can also ask for mints and lollipops, or you can also put together stuff to pass the time, like magazines and word puzzles.

Help With Childcare

Another way you can help is to offer to watch your loved one’s kids while they go to appointments (or even if they just want a night out!). It’s a simple thing you can do, but it’s something that they’ll really appreciate. Or if you can’t watch their kids (because maybe you’re doing one of the above activities), you could hire childcare for them. WeeSitt is a Los Angeles caregiving service that matches fully-screened caregivers with families.

Don’t Make Everything About Cancer

If there are opportunities to do things that your loved one might find fun, then do them! Help them live with no regrets and enjoy life to the fullest. Not everything has to be about cancer, and it’s important not to define their life by that. Go shopping, get coffee together. Do things that you’d normally do. It not only makes things feel normal, but it is also a helpful distraction.

Support is Constant on the Road to Recovery

As you provide support for your loved one, it will take work and should not be a fleeting response you work at for one month and then forget about. Caregiver fatigue exists, where people start out helping at the beginning of a loved one’s journey and then drop off. Often cancer treatment can last for several months; it is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency and stamina are key for caregivers, as well, so make sure you are taking care of yourself as well as your loved one.

The same can be said about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Even though we celebrate it in October, spreading awareness doesn’t end on November 1. It takes work to bring attention to cancer year-round.

About Opal Cremation

The passing of a loved one is an overwhelming experience. At Opal Cremation, we make it our goal to help family and friends navigate through this emotionally challenging process with as little stress as possible. The first thing we do is offer the option to make cremation arrangements over the phone, so families can have more time to spend with each other as they mourn their loved one. Another thing we do is offer an all-inclusive package for cremation services that can be customized according to each family’s needs. Our care team is ready to take your call and guide you through the options 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Check out our support center for more information, where you’ll a list of cremation FAQs as well as other helpful resources.

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