What Can You Do For A Loved One Battling Cancer?

August 21, 2020

Although many forms of it are significantly more treatable than thought in the past, the diagnosis of cancer is still one of the scariest that any individual can face. If a loved one gets that diagnosis, it is only natural to want to be able to help, to empathize, and to understand where it may be difficult. You also want to ensure you don’t take any wrong steps that may be the opposite of helpful. So, what can you do to support a loved one in your life who is battling cancer?

Listen to them
When we are with someone who is going through a tough time, we can feel compelled to judge their reactions and decisions or to simply cheer-lead them with platitudes. This is usually because we’re looking for something useful to say. However, sometimes simply listening and affirming that you are listening can be a lot more helpful. Sites like Psychology Today can offer tips on how to be more genuinely present and how to truly listen rather than being compelled by our natural instinct to add our own two cents.

Get informed
You don’t want to go offering unwanted advice, no matter how well informed. However, if your loved one does want to talk to you about their diagnosis, treatments, and other decisions, you want to be informed enough to hold that conversation. Aside from listening to what they say about their situation, websites like Oncotarget can help you stay up to date and informed about the topic. As such, if they do ask for your input, you can feel a little more beneficial by being able to share and talk on what you have learned.

Be there for them
Sometimes, a person needs nothing more than good company when they are facing a tough time. If you have a jovial, happy friendship with them, you should aim to keep things normal and positive. Not only because laughter can be great for our health, but also because they may be facing enough changes in their life that they might look to you and other important to them as sources of some consistency and semblance of normalcy.

Do not offer advice where it’s not wanted
One common mistake, as understandable as it may be, is to try and offer advice on how they can handle their diagnosis or treatments without being asked. Even if you’re only trying to help and you want to find a solution that works for them, it can be agitating to need nothing more but company but find someone pressuring you into making certain decisions. Offer support, pray for them, lend what help you can, but don’t feel compelled to give advice where it’s not asked for.

The honest answer is that the best way to help a loved one battling a serious illness is subjective. They may need practical help, they may need moral support, they may simply need a friend. Be there, offer what you can, but learn their needs and follow them.

*contributed post*

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