Supporting Someone Who Has Cancer

There is plenty of advice and support out there for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Yet you don’t see as much information aimed at those who know someone in this position.

Being supportive can be hard. You may be in shock at the news, and be upset, and concerned about your relative or friend’s wellbeing. Yet your main role is to be there for them, and this could be done in numerous ways.

The most important thing to remember is that different people react to the news in different ways. That’s what makes us human, and what makes us individuals, too. For example, one person may want to talk for hours, while another doesn’t want to talk at all. Your task as their friend or relative is to respect this, whatever side of the fence they land on.

Some people will ask for help in all manner of ways, whereas others will want to remain as independent as possible. Some will want reassurance, while others will want to know the cold, hard facts.

Everyone is different, so if you think you should approach the issue of support in a specific way, be prepared to change. Your friend or relative may respond well to your approach, but it may also be the exact opposite of what they need. Remember to respect their wishes, and to let them know you are there whenever they need anything. Don’t be afraid to ask how they are, even if it’s a case of sending a quick text each day. Do whatever feels right and natural, and remember this could change depending on which person you know has been affected.

No two people ever go through the exact same experience. That’s why finding out suggestions on what to do if someone has cancer is very important. Macmillan has a wonderfully-helpful site packed with information, and we’d encourage you to look at it if you need to.

Thrift Urban Housing runs the Gillian Advocates project, providing support for people with cholangiocarcinoma. This is a specific cancer affecting the liver’s bile ducts. For more information, please visit the website.

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