According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. While cancer can be a challenging journey for patients and their families, there are ways to support a loved one through their illness.
The most necessary thing you can do is be there for them emotionally. Listen to what they need to say, even if it’s hard to hear. Offer a shoulder to cry on and be a sounding board for their frustrations.
When a loved one falls ill, knowing how to best support them can be difficult. Here are a few ways you can help your loved one through their illness:
1. Be There For Them Emotionally.
Show them that you care and are there for them no matter what. Listen to them and offer a shoulder to cry on. One of the best ways to support someone is to be there for them. Apart from providing emotional support, you can offer practical help, such as picking up groceries or taking them to appointments. Cancer patients often feel isolated, so your support can make a big difference.
2. Educate Yourself About Their Illness.
The more you know about what your loved one is going through, the better equipped you’ll be to support them. Read up on their specific type of cancer and the treatment they’re receiving. It will help you better understand what they’re going through and the treatment options. For instance, mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the lungs’ lining. You can learn more online by visiting the website of a mesothelioma law firm.
3. Help With Practical Tasks.
Cancer patients often have a lot on their plate, so they offer to help with practical tasks, such as grocery shopping or taking them to appointments. It will take some of the burdens off their shoulders and allow them to focus on improving. It also helps to know their treatment schedule to plan around it. The best part about offering practical support is that it’s often appreciated more than emotional support.
4. Make Sure They’re Eating Healthy.
Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for cancer patients. A healthy diet can help them maintain their energy levels and strengthen their immune systems. Offer to cook healthy meals for them or take them to the grocery store so they can buy healthy food. You can also look for recipes specifically designed for cancer patients online.
5. Help Them Stay Connected.
Cancer patients often feel isolated, so help them stay connected to their friends and family. You can do this by setting up a social media account or writing letters on their behalf. You can also help them stay connected to their hobbies and interests. For instance, help them make a playlist of their favorite songs if they’re a music lover.
6. Be Patient With Them.
Cancer patients often have good days and bad days. Be patient with them and understand that their moods may fluctuate. On bad days, they may not be as talkative or engaged as on good days. Just be patient and understand that their cancer affects them more than you can see.
7. Encourage Them To Stay Positive.
Cancer patients need to stay positive, so encourage them to do so. It can be challenging, but it’s important to try. Help them find things to look forward to and reasons to be grateful. You can also encourage them to journal about their positive experiences. It will help them remember the good times when they’re feeling down.
8. Let Them Know You’re There For Them.
Cancer patients often feel like they’re going through this alone, so let them know you’re there for them. It can be as simple as sending them a text message or giving them a call. You can also let them know you’re there for them by offering to help with anything they need. Just make sure you’re respecting their wishes and not overstepping your bounds.
9. Listen To Them.
Cancer patients often need someone to listen to them. It can be a great source of comfort for them. So, make sure you’re really listening to them and not just waiting for your turn to talk. Ask follow-up questions and let them know you’re there for them.
10. Offer To Help With Their Treatment.
Cancer patients often need help with their treatment, so offer to assist them. It can include attending doctor’s appointments or helping them with their medication. You can also contribute to help with their finances or insurance. Just make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle.
11. Connect Them With Other Cancer Patients.
Cancer patients can often find comfort in sharing their experiences with others going through the same thing. So, if you know someone with cancer, put them in touch with the patient. You can also look for support groups in their area. Just make sure you’re not forcing them to do anything they’re not comfortable with.
The Bottom Line:
You can support a loved one going through cancer in many ways. Just make sure you’re respecting their wishes and not overstepping your bounds. Remember, they may not want to talk about their cancer all the time, so give them a break from it when they need it. Listen to them and let them know you’re there for them. Help them find resources and connect with other cancer patients if they want to. Most importantly, pray for them and their caregivers.