What to say when someone you know has breast cancer

So someone you know has breast cancer.

Of course you want to be a support, a friend so you call.

Here are some pearls of wisdom, again taken from my work with women struggling with the disease.

  1. First of all be a listener. Your friend has just been given some very difficult information and she needs to talk. You just need to listen.
  2. Do Not tell them about your co-worker or Great Aunt Kitty, everyone’s treatment is unique.
  3. Don’t offer up statistics. These are only numbers and often skewed to serve the group presenting the information. Your friend IS NOT a NUMBER.
  4. Please don’t tell she is strong and will get through this. While this may be very true what she really needs is permission to feel the emotions she is experiencing.
  5. Be with her for the long haul. Cancer treatment can take almost a year to complete if you need to have surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The struggles and fear go well beyond the first couple of weeks.
  6. Have I mentioned…be a good listener. You don’t have to say anything in fact it is often better if you don’t.
  7. She will be tired as her body tries to repair the cells that are damaged. Encourage her to rest. Offer to clean her house or do the laundry.
  8. Make her a pillow to protect her from the seatbelt harness.
  9. Buy her a new pair of button up pretty pajama’s to wear when she is recovering from surgery.
  10. If you are not sure what to say don’t say anything at all, just be there.

While everything written above may sound like “common-sense” I can assure you that it is not. I have heard terrible stories from women struggling with cancer that have had terrible and upsetting things said to them during their treatment. Remember the story and choice(s) are theirs to make, don’t judge or tell them what YOU would do…be thankful that you don’t have to really think about what you would do!

Thanks for reading.

Below is a link to a website that allows you to simply click and money gets added into the breast cancer research fund. Consider taking the extra moment and clicking.

http://click4breastcancer.org/click-for.php?entered=true

 

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4 thoughts on “What to say when someone you know has breast cancer

  1. Great advice. When I was diagnosed I wanted to deal with it on my own, with the support of my family and a few good/close friends. They must have read your post because none of them said how strong I was although when more people found out, this was said quite often. And listen to the person. Let them know you are there for them whatever they want from you.
    Great post.

    Like

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