What to Do (& Not Do) When a Loved One Is Diagnosed With Cancer


It can be very destabilizing hearing that a loved one has just been diagnosed with cancer. The shock and emotions that will follow can influence your general reactions to this bad news. Handling the sad news of being diagnosed with cancer can take a toll on a person. In my case, I was totally unprepared for it; to say I was shocked will be an understatement. Breaking the news to my friends and family revealed many things about this condition.

I observed the reactions expressed by the people I told about my condition. One thing I noted was their attitudes afterward. Many of the people around me were able to instinctively know what should be done to strengthen me while I had to avoid others who unconsciously made me feel worse about my condition.

From my experience, I know that many people out there do not know the right things to do when a loved, so I have compiled 7 tips to help people know how they can support family and friends who have just been diagnosed with cancer.

Avoid telling negative stories

Many people make the mistake of talking about other people they know who were fatally diagnosed with a similar cancer and how they did not survive it. This is done unconsciously but now you know that this is not the right time to tell this kind of story to the hearing of someone who has just found out they have cancer.

Be sensitive to unspoken needs

Always be on the lookout for ways to make the other person happy. At this point in their lives, they are confused and not really in the right position to make them comfortable so you should study the situation both in their homes and surroundings. You will definitely notice one or two things that will make them feel better even if it is temporary, it will go a long way.

Try to be happy and cheerful

Being cheerful is contagious; I know people who have made me laugh so hard that I temporarily forgot about my situation. This helps a lot. Don’t come around with a look of pity and sadness, this will only increase the sadness in the air. Sobbing and crying should not be done around the patient, it is okay to cry but you should do this when you are far away from the ill person. Always look for ways to cheer everyone up. You should be a source of strength for the weak.

If you have to bring foods, think healthy foods only

The common tradition when someone has been diagnosed with a fatal illness will be to bring a lot of foods to the house. This is a good idea because other immediate family members might not feel like going about getting food prepared in this mood. So the food from family and friends help but we all make a big mistake of brining in so many unhealthy foods that can be detrimental to the health of the diagnosed person. Healthy foods have been known to boost the immunity and resilience of a diagnosed person system. So instead of bringing in those pies, chicken, and sweets, you should source for healthy foods from a vegan diet and other healthy diets.

Maintain the previous relationship before the diagnosis

Many people might feel the need to change the way they relate to their friends who have just been diagnosed with cancer. Please don’t do this, keep the normal forms of conversations, gossip, and storytelling that you used to love sharing with your friend before this sad news broke out. You have to make sure nothing changes in your relationship. If it is possible, maintain the regular dates that have never been missed for many years. This will really go long way to making your ill friend feel better.

Don’t stay away

It is common for people to avoid going to see friends and family that have been diagnosed with a dreadful disease like cancer. They do this because they feel they cannot handle the emotions and the reality of the situation. This is not really helpful; you might be the one your friend needs most at this time. Your absence will also cause your ill friend to worry; they will wonder why you haven’t come to see them even though they know you have heard the news. So please try to be strong, visit your friend. If you can’t visit, send an email or a voice message. They will be very happy to hear from you.

Avoid causing discomforting situations

When you drop off gifts or perform an act of kindness always be sure to let your friends know that they do not need to show appreciation because you know they appreciate your effort already without it being expressed. It is also important to avoid calling as a follow up to the food you brought to the house, you know they received it, calling to know if they did get your gifts might make your friend and their family feel uncomfortable. Just give freely and leave little notes saying they don’t need to call back to appreciate you.

No one plans for this to happen so when it does happen it can be a very trying period for the ill person. This is the time they need their friends and family to support them in ways that they cannot particularly describe or demand. Show love and care in every way, be a source of strength. This is what we really need.

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What to Do (& Not Do) When a Loved One Is Diagnosed With Cancer

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