Are you supporting a friend or family member after a breast cancer diagnosis?
Being told you have breast cancer is the most life changing thing you will ever possibly be told.
Things you can do that might be helpful for a friend who is receiving treatment for breast cancer.
- Ask your friend if she would like help. Not everyone will want the same level of support during their breast cancer treatment.
- Women who are single or do not have a good family support network may need more assistance than those who have a partner or supportive families.
- Accompany your friend to her specialist appointments and take notes or record the information.
- Cook her favourite meal for her to freeze.
- Organise a cooking group and provide a week’s worth of meals and just drop them off (Remember, it may not be convenient to stay).
- Do her washing or ironing or other household chores.
- Send a quick text to ask if she needs anything when you are at the shops, especially when you are at places like the chemist or news agency. This can be helpful to pick up forgotten or unexpectedly needed items.
- Help her set up an SMS service with her chemist to keep up to date with all her medications.
- Offer to pick up or drop off the children to school. You could take them home to your house to play if that is appropriate.
- Flowers are little reminders that tell her she is not alone.
- Get her to pick a code word that you all know like “SUPER” so when you ask, “how are you are feeling?” – if she says, “SUPER” then you all know it’s not the time to talk about cancer or her breast cancer. She is still your friend but now she needs to fit cancer into her already busy life.
- When undergoing treatment (especially Chemotherapy), at different times, people become unable to resist germs and viruses. So it is very important to delay visits if you are unwell. A text to let her know you are thinking of her would be great.
- Send a card or write an uplifting note to lift her spirits.
- Invite her to have a coffee with you.
- Sunlight and fresh air is good for the soul. Does she have a favourite park or place? Offer to take her.
- Organise someone to mow the lawn and water the garden.
- Organise one person to update others about test results and other information. You could even set up a special closed Facebook group page if you are savvy with the internet.
- Offer to help her deal with emails.
- When she is feeling low remind her that she can talk to a counsellor on the phone or at the Cancer Council offices for free on 13 11 20. Sometimes she will need to hear from someone who has been there before her.
- Paperwork can be overwhelming. Is there a person in your group of friends who loves this? Recruit them.