Know Someone with Cancer? Here are 7 Ways to Help

Know Someone with Cancer? Here are 7 Ways to Help
This page was originally published January 11, 2018 and updated May 26, 2024.

When it comes to challenging situations as humans we tend to freeze up. We do not know what to say, so we say nothing. If you know someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer, the best thing you can do is offer support.  Maybe it is a loved one or friend, perhaps it’s a coworker, no matter who gets the news, there are always ways you can help big or small.

Small Gestures Count

When a person has started their cancer journey, even the smallest gesture can mean a great deal to them.  Between treatments, dealing with the side effects of treatment, patients find even the most mundane things hard to accomplish on bad days. Offering to step in and lend a hand where you can or just be there to listen to their struggles will mean so much to them.

Ideas to Get You Started.

  1. Does your friend have children? Offer to take them to movies or another fun outing. You can also babysit, take them to school or afterschool activities.
  2. Cancer treatment can zap all energy, be sure to keep your friend and their family fed. Bring them meals delivered in containers of several pre-made meals your friend can heat as needed. Use containers you don’t need back.
  3. Let them know you are thinking of them. Send a card, a funny note or “just thinking about you” text.  Even if they cannot respond, it will mean a lot to them.
  4. Be the PR person for your loved one. Offer to help sort through emails, be the contact person for scheduling visits, or keep other friends and family updated on their condition.
  5. Spend an afternoon just hanging out and being there. Maybe all your friend needs is your comforting presence.
  6. Bring a goody bag; everyone likes gifts. The key though is to make sure they are goodies your loved one can use right now. Maybe a pretty scarf or fun hat. Socks, comfy PJs, the snuggly blanket, journal or audio books for chemo sessions. Check out some free care packages for cancer patients here.
  7. Don’t forget caregivers; their job is tough too. By being there to support them during this time, you will also help the patient, too.

More Tips

Don’t wait for your loved one to call and say they need help because, sometimes, the people who need it the most have the hardest time asking. The most significant thing is to be present.  Ask them what they need and then do it. Be there to listen. Support is just as critical as the treatment itself. Your loved one certainly needs (and will appreciate!) the help. If you have other suggestions to help our readers, we’d love to hear them. Please leave your comments below.

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  1. These are so heart-warming. I used to volunteer at the childrens cancer hospital and sometimes all they want is for someone to sit with them and make them forget about being sick for a bit.

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