Dos and Don’ts of Helping a Friend Through Cancer

dos and donts of helping someone with cancer
This page was originally published June 29, 2021 and updated April 22, 2024.

When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to know what to do. You want to help them through this tough time, but you may not know how. In this blog post, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of helping someone who is going through cancer. We hope that this information will help you support your loved one during their cancer journey!

10 Dos and Don’ts to Remember

From the feedback we’ve received over many years, we know from cancer patients themselves that there are some simple ways to help support your loved ones. Here are nine ideas to help your friend through his or her cancer journey:

  • Be there for them. Show up and keep your promises.
  • Listen to them without judgment.
  • Offer to help with transportation to and from treatments.
  • Help with household tasks.
  • Don’t offer advice unless asked for it.
  • Respect their decisions.
  • Reassure them. Let them know you are there for them, no matter what.
  • Provide emotional support.
  • Don’t try to fix everything.
  • Get educated about their cancer.

One of the very best things you can do for someone with cancer is to truly be there for them, physically and emotionally. This is the hardest time in that person’s life. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what.

Your Support Means More Than You Know

Helping with daily chores and errands, no matter how small it may seem to you. From our visitor feedback, it really does mean the world. Offer to walk their dog, go to the grocery store or tidy up their house. Even picking up their up prescriptions is a much-needed reprieve. If you cannot do these things yourself, organize a team to help. Call on other friends to pitch in or schedule a service like landscaping. Schedule a housekeeper to clean up their place. Take care of the details, so they just need to be there to open the door.

Offer to help during their treatments, whether it is taking them to appointments or just being there to support them. You can also offer to help with household tasks or errands so that they can focus on their treatment. Be sure to listen to them and let them know that you are there for them.

Remember, don’t try to fix everything. This is not the time to offer unsolicited advice or tell them what they should be doing. This is a time for them to focus on their treatment and their own journey. Respect their decisions and support them, even if you don’t agree with them.

There’s an App for That

The LivingWith app is designed to help cancer patients, families, and caregivers during this journey. The app includes a variety of features, such as a cancer dictionary, tips for living with cancer, a support circle, a blog, and a forum.

LivingWith App free for cancer patients and caregivers

The cancer dictionary includes definitions of common cancer terms, information about treatments, and advice for living with cancer. The tips for living with cancer section includes information about managing symptoms, eating well, and staying positive. The blog is updated regularly with posts from cancer patients and their families. And the forum is a great place to connect with others who are going through the same thing. Through the App, caregivers can communicate and work together to provide care and support to a loved one battling this disease.

The LivingWith app is free to download and is available on Android and iOS devices. To find out more about the App and get the download link for your device, visit the LivingWith website here.

Get More Help

Cancer is a difficult journey, but you can make it easier for your loved one by following these dos and don’ts. Be there for them, listen to them, offer to help, and respect their decisions. These simple actions will mean so much to someone who is going through cancer. If you have any questions about how to support your loved one during their cancer journey, please reach out to us. We are here to help you find the services and programs you need!


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  1. I love this. I think it is so important that if you have a friend or family member going through this, you support them with whatever they choose and you be there for them. Offering them help and never pressuring them to do something they don’t want to do. Not everyone chooses the same treatment path.

    • You are so right! We agree 100%. Thank you for taking the time to reach out, Dave.

  2. I know firsthand that the worst thing you can do is try to fix the problem. I had a friend who went through cancer and treatment and is thankfully in remission now. It has been 2 years but me trying to figure everything out for her, pushing her to do stuff… It put a lot of weight on our friendship and I still feel she has not fully forgiven me for it. Don’t make the same mistake I did!

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