How Does Someone Cope With Cancer
People develop all kinds of coping styles during their lives. Some people are quite private, while others are more open and talk about their feelings. These coping styles help people manage difficult personal situations, although some styles work better than others.
Some people use humor and find it a relief from the serious nature of the illness. But some may become withdrawn and isolated from family and friends. A cancer diagnosis creates a lot of change. People often try to maintain as much control as they can to feel more secure. Some people become very angry or sad. They might be grieving the loss of their healthy self-image, or the loss of control over their lives.
Some people find it helps to simply be hopeful and do what they can to maintain that hope. Hope means different things to different people. And people can hope for many things while facing cancer.
You might assume that someone who is positive and optimistic must be denying the fact that they have cancer. If the person with cancer seems upbeat and unaffected by having cancer, dont assume theyre in denial. Making the most of every day may simply be their way of coping. As long as they are getting medical care, theyre probably not in denial, and their way of coping with cancer should be respected. For more information, please see Coping With Cancer in Everyday Life.
Gifts For Taboo Side Effects
There are also some side effect from chemotherapy that the patient is not comfortable sharing. For example: constipation, diarrhea, and hair loss.
15. Hats and headscarves to keep the head warm.
16. Dried fruit like prunes and dates to ease constipation.
17. Moist Flushable Cleansing Wipes dry toilette paper can be irritating.
18. Travel Tissue Packs because nose hairs fall out, too.
What If The Person ‘s Cancer Comes Back
In some cases, a persons cancer will come back and treatment might begin again or a new treatment might be needed. The person with cancer may or may not react the same way they did the first time. Again, communication is key. Most people are quite upset if they learn their cancer is back. They may feel they dont have the emotional or physical reserves to get through it again, they might be empowered to be as strong as possible. They may have expected it to come back, or are simply ready to face it again. By equipping yourself with the knowledge of how best to talk to the person with cancer, you can be most helpful to them.
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Respect The Privacy Of Someone Who Has Cancer
If someone tells you that they have cancer, you should never tell anyone else unless they have given you permission. Let them be the one to tell others. If someone else asks you about it, you can say something like, Its not up to me to share this, but Im sure will appreciate your concern. Ill let them know you asked about them.
It might feel awkward if you hear through the grapevine that someone has cancer. You could ask the person who told you if its public information. If its not, you probably shouldnt say anything to the person with cancer. But if it is public information, dont ignore it. You might say, in a caring way, I heard whats happening, and Im sorry.
You may feel angry or hurt if someone whos close to you didnt share the news of a cancer diagnosis with you right away. No matter how close you are, it may take time for the person to adjust to the diagnosis and be ready to tell others. Dont take it personally. Focus on how you can support that person now that you know. For suggestions on how to do this, see How To Be a Friend To Someone With Cancer.
Helpful Things To Say To A Person With A Serious Illness
Don’t be afraid to talk with your friend who has a serious diagnosis, even if you’re not quite sure what to say. Just being there and saying something is important. Here are some good options to guide your conversation.
- “I don’t know exactly what to say, but please know how much I care.”
- “What can I do for you?” Dr. Fisher says to make sure you actually can offer the person practical support before asking them what they need. It’s good to offer concrete and practical ways to help, including taking them to their medical appointments, helping them get their affairs in order, running errands for them, or helping them keep up with the things they loved to do before getting sick.
- “I’m always here if you ever want to talk.”
- “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”
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Give Advice Only When You Are Asked
Friends and loved ones often take on the task of researching the diagnosis, treatment options and alternative therapies. Be cautious about giving advice or offering unsolicited assistance in making treatment decisions.
Many people facing a diagnosis are overwhelmed with well-intentioned suggestions for treatments. Rather than jumping right in to tell someone about a treatment you heard about, ask them are you overwhelmed with advice on treatments? or say I have a friend who did this. I can find out more information if that would be helpful.
And let it go if they dont seem interested.
Things To Say To Someone With Cancer
When a friend or loved one receives a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to be there and show you care. But finding the right words can be hard.What can you say that won’t scare or upset your friend or loved one? What can you say that will give them the hope and strength they need to confront cancer?We recently asked the cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in our to share the best things to say to someone with cancer.Here’s what they recommend.
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What’s The Right Thing To Say To Someone With Cancer
A young woman who was diagnosed with cancer was dismayed by the lack of greeting cards that expressed how she truly felt – but now she’s on a mission to help others find the right words in times of crisis.
Emily McDowell was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2001, when she was only 24.
While she was enduring the months of treatments that would eventually lead to remission, she noticed that friends and acquaintances often didn’t know what to say – and that the greeting card industry wasn’t helping.
“The sympathy cards were reallyâ¦ interesting,” says McDowell, who lives in Los Angeles. “There wasn’t much out there that spoke to the situation I was in.”
The cards she received fell into a few categories. There were the “get well soon” cards that seemed like they made more sense for someone recovering from a broken leg than someone newly diagnosed with cancer.
“It felt almost like a challenge – like, ‘um, okayâ¦ I’ll try!'” McDowell said.
Then there were the cards that skewed religious or philosophical. These adages – “it’s all in God’s plan” or “everything happens for a reason” also seemed to strike the wrong note.
“In the moment, it’s almost insulting to hear,” McDowell said.
“How is this the plan? Maybe with time and perspective the person can come to that conclusion on their own – but it’s just not helpful to hear in a time of crisis.”
She filed that information away while she pursued a successful career in advertising.
Take Time To Prepare Yourself
Here are some things to consider before talking to a friend who has cancer:
Process your own feelings beforehand. Learning that a friend has cancer can be difficult news to hear. Take time to acknowledge and cope with your own emotions about the diagnosis before you see him or her. This way, you can keep the focus on your friend.
Learn about the diagnosis. Your friend may not want to talk about the details for many reasons. It can be physically and emotionally tiring to repeat the same information to different people. If possible, the persons spouse or a mutual friend may be able to give you the basics. Write it down and repeat it back to them to be sure you have the correct information. If there is information that is unknown or not shared, do not push for more.
Think about it from your friends perspective. Remember a time when you were scared or felt sick. Think about what it felt like. What did you want to talk about? How did you want to be treated? You may also want to prepare yourself for changes in your friends appearance. Fatigue, weight loss, and hair loss are common side effects of cancer and many treatments. Start your visit by saying Its good to see you instead of commenting on any physical changes.
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Messages To All Cancer Patients
Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital put up a World Cancer Day message board for survivors, caregivers, supporters & staff to share their messages to cancer patients around the world. These are the 33 heart-warming messages:
1. You are stronger than you think.
2. Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind. It cannot touch my heart. And it cannot touch my soul. JM
3. Never give up. Give yourself a chance to see the world again. Fight till the end.
4. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
5. Hei Fighter, we know it hurts and it is tiring, but stay strong. It might be stormy now, but it cant rain forever. Theres always rainbow after the rain. And the joy after the pain. Be strong and of a good courage. Luis, Survivor
6. Never give up hope easily. Give yourself a chance simply by fighting till the end.
7. Support the fighters. Admire the survivors. Honor the taken. Never give up.
8. To all cancer patients, nothing is impossible. With prayers, love and courage you will win the battle over cancer. Never give up, you will never walk alone. Shawn
9. You cant cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. You are not alone. Together, lets fight through the waves. #WorldCancerDay2018
10. Dear all fighters! You are doing an awesome job! Keep it up! You can do it. Hats off to you. Phyllis
11. World Cancer Day Together, its possible.
15. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.
Encouraging Messages For Cancer Caretakers
96. I know how hard it has been for you, going back and forth between taking Ben to his chemo treatments and taking care of the kids at home. Let me help you with driving him to his appointments next week.
97. This has been so difficult for your family, and I am so sorry that you have to go through this. You have been keeping up a brave front, but I wanted to make sure that you know I am here for you if you ever need to let off steam.
98. Please dont forget to take care of yourself while you are taking care of Jen. Ive seen how great you are with trying to handle everything, but you deserve some me time for yourself.
99. I know its so hard to see Will in so much pain. But I have faith that one day, you are both going to look back at this time and appreciate how much strength you both had in fighting this disease.
100. How about Joe and I take the kids for a night this weekend so you can get some extra rest?
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Remember That Everyones Illness Is Different
Even if the type of cancer your friend has is the same as that of someone else you know, keep in mind that everyones symptoms and disease are unique. While you may want to reach into your own life to find a common link, Cammarata recommends avoiding such comparisons.
Dont say, My friend was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, too, and theyre doing great, she says. Its not helpful to compare illnesses.
Stay Connected Throughout The Journey
Cancer treatment can be long. People are usually overwhelmed with response at the initial diagnosis and then friends and family seem to disappear. Checking in regularly with cards, phone calls and visits over the entire course of treatment and beyond will be tremendously helpful.
Dont stop inviting them to do things. Sometimes, its after treatment has completed that the emotional needs are highest.
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Tips For Making Life Easier
Be specific about your offers to help. Dont offer to do things that you dont plan to do. And refrain from saying, call me if you need something or let me know how I can help.
Instead, offer specifics like:
- Can I mow your lawn this weekend?
- Id like to offer to give your kids a ride to school or other activities.
- Id like to take you to your appointments when you need it. Do you need a ride to your next one?
- Can I walk your dog twice a week?
- Can I pick up some groceries for you?
- Can I coordinate meals for you? What days would be best?
- Can I come over and clean house/do laundry for you/cook a meal?
If you know someone else who has been through cancer treatment, find out from them what they most needed during treatment.
What If The Person Refuses Or Stops Cancer Treatment
At some point during a person’s cancer journey, they might refuse or decide to stop cancer treatment. You might feel like they’re giving up, and that can be upsetting or frustrating. You might not agree with their decision, but it is important to support them and give them the space to decide what they feel is best for their health, well-being, and quality of life.
Even after a person refuses cancer treatment or decides to stop their treatment, it’s important to make sure they fully understand their options. You might want to suggest the person to talk with their cancer care team about their decision. Some will and others won’t. After talking to their cancer care team, don’t be surprised if your loved one still decides to stop or refuse treatment. Continue to offer your support.
Palliative care can help anyone with cancer, even those who are sure that they don’t want treatment for the cancer itself. Palliative care is focused on treating or improving symptoms like pain or nausea, and not the cancer itself. It helps the person feel as good as possible for as long as possible.
The person who refuses or stops cancer care may be open to hospice. Hospice care treats a person’s symptoms so their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice care is also family-centered it includes the patient and the family in making decisions.
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When A Coworker Has Cancer: What To Say
When a coworker is diagnosed with cancer, most people simply dont know what to say. Speechless is the usual reaction.
What will you say? What should you say? Your thoughts race as you rehearse something heartfelt.
If its the first time youve had a coworker diagnosed with cancer, its probably more difficult. Even worse, what you may think of as a natural and helpful question or comment may not be helpful at all and may actually be hurtful.
Add A Digital Gift Card
Pair a digital gift card with a personalized get well ecard, for an extra special surprise for the recipient. Simply select the retailer youd like to purchase a gift card from then youll enter the name and email of the recipient and send. If youre an AG member you only pay the amount of the egift card. We also have a checkout as guest option for a $1.99 fee. Browse our selection of retailers to choose from including Sephora, Nike, Starbucks, Fandango, Target, and more!
Greg Vovos has been writing at AG for ten years. In 2014 he lost his mother to acute myeloid leukemia. He was grateful for all the wishes he received when she passed and knows his mother appreciated every kind word she received during her illness.
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Facing The Final Stages Of Life
When someone’s cancer is no longer responding to treatment, it can also be a scary time for those close to them. No matter how hard it might be, it’s still important to try to be there to give support. Try to follow the cues and stay in the background but be available when they need you.
Some people worry about what to say when a person with cancer talks or asks about dying. Listen to them and be open and honest. Dont try to answer questions that you dont know the answers to. Offer to help them reach out to their health care team. There are no magic words for a person who is dying, but often your presence and support goes a long way.
Eight Encouraging Words For Cancer Patients Who Have Experienced A Cancer Relapse
Hearing from the doctor that the cancer has relapsed must be the most heartbreaking thing to hear in the world. Now, more than ever, your friends and family members will need your support to keep them focused on their goals. Here are eight encouraging words for cancer patients who have experienced a cancer relapse:
It must be exhausting to have to go through this process again, but I am here to support you in every way possible. Please, you dont need to hesitate to reach out to me, even though I will be checking on you regularly. I know this must be very frustrating and disappointing for you, especially because I witnessed how much you went through. I feel deeply sorry for you. If you ever need someone to talk to, you always have my ear.Unfortunately, these things happen. When they do, we have to reassess the situation and keep pushing. We will never give up, as long as you have breath and strength.Hearing something like this, after all of the treatments you went through, is hard to deal with, and I imagine that it is very scary for you. Fret not, Im praying for your health and strength every single day because I know things will get better.Thank you for allowing me to be by your side on this journey. This set back will not deter me from being there for you, my friend. Im with you all of the way!
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