Finding out that someone in your family or a friend you are close to has cancer can be very distressing and upsetting. It’s not easy to deal with the diagnosis, and oftentimes we are left wondering what we can do to help.
In the Philippines, cancer was one of the top three causes of death last year.
Fear, anxiety, and stress can get in the way of providing your sick loved one the support they need. However, there is much you can do to support them. What kind of help does a sick individual need? How can you deliver a supportive message for a cancer patient? Read on to learn more.
How to show support
Cancer can affect your family or friend in many devastating ways. Chronic illness can give the patient guilt, a feeling of loss of control, anger, and sadness–all the while suffering mood disturbances, extreme changes in their bodies, and deep-seated fears.
Some patients may even find it difficult to accept support during these trying times. Remember that this is normal and can be their way of asserting what little independence they can have at this time.
Don’t just talk–listen
You may feel like you don’t know what to say to a friend with cancer. However, most of the time, it’s not what you say but rather how you listen2. Make yourself available to listen to what they have to say–sometimes, more than having the right words to say, it’s all about hearing them out.
Actions speak louder than words
Nothing is too small or insignificant when it comes to sending a message of love and support to a cancer patient3. Small, practical actions such as preparing thoughtful care packages and offering to run errands for them can go a long way when it comes to providing emotional support for cancer patients.
Caring for the caregivers
Many times, a cancer patient is with a caregiver, usually an immediate family member or friend who is not paid to provide them care2. This demanding and time-consuming role can be stressful and tiring. Providing support for their caregivers can also be a huge way to support someone with cancer.
Coping with a chronic illness is a huge burden, not only to the patient, but to those around them. Your love and support, no matter how insignificant it seems to you, can go a long way in making sure others can go through this physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding illness. Remember to reach out and show your love if you are able to.
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