3 Tips to Help a Loved One After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
A cancer diagnosis overwhelming. It can also be devastating to hear that a loved one has received this terrible news. Once the initial blow of the news of a loved one’s diagnosis has passed, many are left with the question of “What can I do to help and support them?” Below are some tips on how to help carry your loved one through this journey, without overstepping your boundaries and ensuring they have a village surrounding them with a willingness to help navigate the inevitable storms to come.
Do your research: Learning about the specific disease that your loved one has is a great place to start. Cancer is not a one size fits all disease.The treatment options and timelines can vary greatly between cases. Understanding their diagnosis will help equipt you with the knowledge you need to discuss their diagnosis with them. Having a loved one to talk to helps patients like they are not alone and have a team of support. The caveat of doing your research is this: unsolicited advice about treatment decisions is a no-no. Always leave this in the hands of their team of doctors, surgeons and medical professionals!
Cancer isn’t convenient: A cancer diagnosis always comes at a terrible time. Cancer does not wait until you are an empty-nester or retired. Cancer does not wait for your schedule to be available for the countless appointments. After a diagnosis, your loved one will need help. This may be taking a child to or from school or extra-curricular activity, bringing over a home-cooked meal, helping with housekeeping or a simple car wash. These little details are often the ones that get left behind and can greatly improve a patients’ quality of life during this time.
Don’t let sadness overstay its welcome: There will always be times that both your loved one and you will be sad about the diagnosis, but a positive light will do wonders for your loved ones’ morale. It doesn’t have to be persistent positivity, but moments of light can brighten any burden—even for a moment. It is extremely important to let your loved one know that their feelings of sadness are validated and very real, but it shouldn’t be the only topic of discussion. Bringing up topics that will bring your loved one joy, whether it be hobbies, children, family, sports, etc. are great ways to bring joy to the mind of your loved while navigating through a cancer diagnosis.
While cancer is never a fun journey to take, there are often many ways to support your loved one to remind them that they are more than this disease!
Author: Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo and Delaney Crawford
A cancer diagnosis overwhelming. It can also be devastating to hear that a loved one has received this terrible news. Here are 3 tips to help a loved one after a breast cancer diagnosis.