When you hear that a family member or friend is fighting breast cancer, your immediate reaction is to ask, “How can I help?” It is overwhelming for someone to go through any type of cancer fight. People who love that person have their own stress as they try to find the balance between being optimistic and empathizing with their loved one. If someone you know has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, here are five ways you can help.
1. Connect regularly
Isolation can increase anxiety and depression even in those who are not fighting breast cancer. Be sure to connect with your loved one regularly, whether that means calling, texting, or visiting them in person. Remember that the combination of the breast cancer itself and the medication may make them more tired than usual, so always check in before visiting to make sure they are still up for it. Short, frequent visits are better than long, irregular ones. If you live far away, staying in contact through text or email can help encourage your friend and keep them from feeling isolated in their cancer fight.
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one fighting breast cancer is listen to them. They are going through a lot and likely have many emotions about this experience. Even when you don’t know what to say, just lending a listening ear can make a huge difference. You don’t have to have all the answers. Just let them know that you hear them and care about them.
3. See what they want help with
When someone has breast cancer, the assumption is that they will want help with making meals, cleaning their house, and other chores. While helping out can be a great way to show you care, make sure you check with your loved one first. Ask them specifically what they would like you to do. Fighting breast cancer can already make someone feel like they’re losing control of their own life. Allowing them to remain as independent as possible helps quell those worries.
4. Let them know you’re thinking of them
If you live far away or have a busy life yourself that prevents you from helping out, there are still ways you can let your loved one with breast cancer know you are thinking of them. Send an encouraging card in the mail, or surprise your friend with a gift you know they will love. Anything you know that will make them happy and lift their spirits is a good idea. Something as simple as a text to say you’re thinking of them in the middle of a busy weekday can make a big difference.
5. Take care of yourself
When a loved one is sick, it is easy to get completely invested in helping and supporting them. Remember that you are no help to others if you don’t also take care of yourself. Be realistic with the care you can provide so you don’t get burnt out. Keep eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Your health is just as important as your friend’s.
Need medical support for a cancer fight?
If you or a loved one is fighting breast cancer, Bass Medical Group is here to help. Their state-of-the-art imaging center can provide 2D and 3D mammograms as well as breast MRIs and breast ultrasounds. The doctors at Bass Medical are skilled in their practice and many specialize in cancer studies. Call (925) 350-4044 to schedule an appointment today.