Helping a Loved One Through a Cancer Diagnosis

Ladies with breast cancer embracing each other
These tips can help you better assist a loved one who has received a cancer diagnosis.

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, and leaning on a community of support at that time is vital. When a person you love is undergoing treatment for cancer, you might feel unclear about how to best assist the person without overstepping boundaries or making them feel discomfort for any reason. What can you do to best assist someone you love through a cancer diagnosis? Our aging care experts have some tips to get you started. 

  1. Figure out exactly what they need. Often, a person with cancer or another chronic health condition will hear from well-intended family and friends, “Let me know if you need anything!” It’s then up to the person struggling with their diagnosis to determine what’s needed, and to contact those who offered with ways to help. You can be proactive and find out just what will most help the person. On one day, they may need help with doing dishes, laundry, and vacuuming, while another day they may really need some healthy meals prepared or just someone to talk to for a welcome distraction. 
  2. Educate yourself as much as possible. Read up on the kind of cancer the person has been diagnosed with to better comprehend what they are facing. Search online for trusted sources like Johns Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic.  
  3. Help prepare appropriate meals. Cancer treatments like chemo and radiation can cause exhaustion, so preparing meals can be difficult. These treatments can also affect how food tastes. Ask the person what types of foods might be appetizing, and then make meals for them accordingly. Understand that it may take some trial and error to discover what is most palatable. 
  4. Be present. Merely being on hand to listen, talk, and even laugh with the person when appropriate can be helpful to somebody who wants to live life as normally as possible in spite of their diagnosis. 
  5. Advocate. Help the person keep a record of their questions and concerns for the next doctor’s visit. If they wish, attend the appointment with them and help make sure each issue is resolved. 

As the leading provider of home care in Denton, Plano, Dallas, and the surrounding areas, Heaven at Home is here to help those with cancer live more comfortable lives at home. Contact us online for more information and resources on how to help a loved one with a recent cancer diagnosis, or to request a free in-home consultation to find out more about how we can help.