Here’s What Cancer Survivors and Patients Suggest People Looking to Help Family and Friends with Cancer Do

March 22, 2021
Ryan McDonald

On social media, CURE® recently asked its readers to offer advice to others looking to help friends and family who have been diagnosed with cancer. Here is some of their advice.

Each week on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, CURE® asks its readers to share their thoughts with a #CureConnect discussion question.

This past week, we asked: “What advice would you give someone looking to help a friend or loved one with cancer?”

Here’s what some of our readers shared:

  • “Be honest in your conversations. Don’t insist that they always be positive and don’t pretend to do the same. If you appear to not be hurting, you aren’t helping, you’re just creating more to doubt.” – V.J.
  • “When I was being treated with intense chemotherapy, the feeling I disliked the most was the pity and look of death on those who were supposed to be supportive. No one wants to be looked at and treated as if they're dying right then and there; we all die a little bit every day. Just be there. Love. Reassure. If you can't do that, don't show up. It's not the patient's job to console you like you're the one suffering.” – M.S.Y.
  • “It's lonely, especially during a pandemic. Don't be afraid to call. Send cards so your loved one knows they're thought of.” – B.C.
  • “Please don't tell someone with cancer to let you know if they need anything. Most of us have great difficulty with the idea of reaching out for help. It's far more helpful for you to ask for specific ways that you can help, such as offering rides.” – N.D.
  • “Just be there for your friend. Listen more and talk less. Don't offer advice unless asked. No stories of ‘so-and-so had the same cancer and ….’ Show up to clean the house or make a meal instead of saying, ‘Let me know if you need anything.’” – K.I.
  • “When I was diagnosed, people asked if they could visit. I said ‘yes,’ but you have to make me laugh.” – B.L.
  • “Just be there for them whether they ask you to or not. I have a friend who sends me an inspirational quote every day and that has helped me a lot to stay positive.” – K.Q.
  • “Ask permission to ask questions about treatment and options. Unsolicited advice is not helpful, but asking good questions can help uncover ways you can help.” – A.N.

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