Finding out that a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer can leave even the most empathetic of us speechless.
Not knowing what to do or say can sometimes cause people to pull away, but there are ways in which you can support someone with breast cancer without being overbearing or feeling powerless. Here’s what you need to know.
When we find ourselves faced with devastating news, we often feel obliged to offer words of encouragement or try to awkwardly avoid the entire situation. Breast cancer can be a devastating blow, but the best thing to do is listen. Creating a space where a person can feel seen and heard beyond their diagnosis can be the best way to support them.
Let them know you care
Asking for help may not come easily for many people, more so when you have been recently diagnosed with an illness such as breast cancer. Being able to assist with things such as making a homemade meal, going grocery shopping for them, setting up their appointments or taking the children to school can go a long way. Always remember to call before coming by the house or offering certain services to avoid overstepping personal boundaries.
Scheduling medical visits
Joining a support group, making appointments and sticking to medication can be one of the many responsibilities that can be overwhelming. Offering to share the responsibilities is also another way to show support. Splitting these with friends and family can also make it a maintainable task to undertake, but keep in mind to ask before undertaking these tasks.
Encourage them to stay active
There are changes that will come with the side effects of treatment and medication which can alter a person's behaviour and mood. It also means that in some instances a loved one can feel depressed angry or tired. While there is only so much that a person can do, you can encourage them to be active. This means taking on some form of physical activity that is aimed at keeping them relaxed and encourages them to do as much for themselves as possible. Doing this can create some sense of control.
Talk it through
Asking questions and talking it through can help you navigate this difficult period. It also creates a space to tackle those questions that seem daunting and for reassurance that you know what will happen next. This ties in with listening carefully to understand, and responding when it's needed. Everyone's experience of breast cancer is different and can affect the whole family. However, keep in mind that you are in this together.