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Supporting a Friend with Cancer

Do you know how you might support a friend with Cancer?

Every person with Cancer is different and their needs and wishes are different, below are some general suggestions about how you might show support

Ask first: It is important to ask your friend’s permission before giving advice, asking questions or even before visiting. It is also important that you let them know that them saying no is perfectly ok.

Friend before: Try to treat your friend in the same way you always have. Try not to let their condition get in the way of your friendship

Future Plans: Making plans for the future can give your friend something to look forward to. Cancer treatment can be very tiring and long so having something planned in the future can help give a lift.

Humour: Well timed and appropriate humour can help make a friend’s day. Don’t be afraid to tell funny stories of old, jokes or funny things that have happened to you on a given day.

Flexibility: When making plans try to make them easy to reschedule or cancel if the need arises.

Space for Sadness: Don’t ignore uncomfortable feelings or topics. It can be a relief for your friend if they know they can be vulnerable, sad or fearful with you.

Touch Base: You can make time for a check-in phone call. Let your friend know when you will be calling and also let them know that it is ok for them now to answer the phone.

Give a Hand: You can offer to help with different tasks such as taking care of or walking their pet, minding their children, running errands or preparing a meal. Don’t take it personally if your friend declines the offer. They will appreciate your intent even if they don’t take you up on it.

Follow Things Through: If you make a commitment to your friend to help then follow through on your promise.

Different Topics: Engage you friend in topics other than Cancer. You can ask them about their hobbies, books they are reading or about their interests. Sometimes a break from talking about the disease is a welcome relief.

Keep up to Date: If a family member or your friend is writing on social media about their journey try to keep up to date with this. Keeping up to date can mean your friend will not have to repeat this information multiple times, it can also be a good conversation starter.