By the end of 2021, it is estimated that the state of California will see more than 187,000 more cases of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. For many of these patients, part of surviving this terrible disease is having the support of friends and family.
If someone in your life was recently diagnosed with cancer, here are four ways you can support them.
- Understand what they’ll be going through
While every cancer case is different, each patient will inevitably struggle with a range of emotions as they deal with the disease, including anger, uncertainty, fear, and a sense of being isolated from others. At the same time, they may go through a range of physical changes, including hair and weight loss, problems sleeping, changes to their skin color, and extreme fatigue. Part of being there for them means understanding what some changes might be so that you can help them deal with it.
- Help them do the research
To successfully fight their cancer, every patient will need to identify where they will be treated. So, whether they are looking for a cancer care center Orange County, CA, or Austin, TX, for example, it will mean vetting the various options and how it fits with the patient’s needs and preferred approach to care.
- Offer practical support
One of the best ways to help a friend or family member dealing with cancer is to offer practical support. That means being there for the little things such as making meals they can freeze, offering to pick up their kids from school, running errands, or helping them with some cleaning or laundry. It’s often those everyday activities that can be difficult to handle when patients are also managing their cancer treatment and its effects.
- Care for the caregiver
The primary caregiver plays a vital role in the treatment of a cancer patient. The role is most often filled by a spouse, partner, parent, or adult child. Taking care of the caregiver is important because the role can often be emotionally and physically exhausting.