Cancer is still the great medical specter of the modern world, and it’s likely to remain just as ominous in the future as it is now. Being diagnosed with cancer is a great challenge. It can cause still great amounts of pain when the diagnosis is a family member’s rather than your own. If someone you love is dealing with cancer, you may find this advice helpful.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do for a loved one facing a cancer diagnosis is to be the best listener you can be. Dealing with cancer involves taking in vast amounts of new information, much of which is hard to process and hold onto. Your loved one will appreciate having an extra set of ears open to catch every detail and keep everything straight. Of course, it’s important to pay attention to the concerns your loved one voices, too! Be patient and take in everything they want to share.
Cancer is not a contagious disease, except for the way it spreads fear around. Even though the diagnosis isn’t yours, just being close to cancer can be frightening. Although it’s important to be strong, don’t try to do it by ignoring your own fears. Make sure your loved one knows that you’re sharing the fear and uncertainty that a cancer diagnosis brings. Just knowing that another person is also scared by what’s happening can make it easier for a cancer patient to cope.
On a more practical front, try to visit your loved one as often as possible to lend a helping hand with mundane, day-to-day chores. This not only allows them to conserve their energy, it also keeps them from being alone too much. With the thought of cancer preying on one’s mind, spending too much time on one’s own can be downright unhealthy. Visiting and sharing ordinary tasks with your loved one gives them a connection to the ordinary world and reminds them that life hasn’t been put on hold by their cancer.
It’s very helpful for cancer patients to have moral support from a close friend when they go in for tests, treatments, and consultations. If you’re able to do this for your loved one, try to make a commitment to be there for all of their medical appointments. The consistency is encouraging for the patient, and it also means that you’ll have a full view of their course of treatment. This can be vital if your loved one needs assistance with any home-based medical procedures.
Although all of this advice adds up to spending a lot of time with your loved one, you have to remember not to smother them. Constant companionship can breed resentment in both the cancer patient and his or her loved ones. You both need time apart in order to make your time together really count. This is why helping out around the house was suggested earlier: Don’t spend time with your loved one just for the sake of spending time with them. Have things to do together in order to make your time more productive and enjoyable.
Although many of the possible endings to a cancer story are sad ones, not all of them are. The stories themselves don’t have to be sad, either, no matter how they end. Hopefully, the advice presented here will help you make your loved one’s ordeal with cancer a little brighter and a little less frightening.