How to Support a Breast Cancer Patient
A breast cancer diagnosis is often scary and overwhelming for a woman, making it essential to have a strong support system to lean on when treatment becomes difficult. If one of your loved ones has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, you know how it can impact everyone involved. You can do several things to be an ideal advocate for your loved one and make sure she firmly believes she has the strength to go from patient to survivor.
What to Say to Someone who has Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
If someone you love has recently received a breast cancer diagnosis, it might feel like there's nothing good to say. You may feel helpless, and that saying "I'm sorry" isn't enough. However, even saying something as simple as "I'm sorry" or "I love you" is enough to remind the woman in your life that she can rely on you through whatever comes next.
Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all. Instead, you should listen to whatever your loved one has to say. Chances are, she has a lot of thoughts, concerns, and anxiety over what happens next and may need to vent her frustrations about breast cancer treatment. Between doctors' appointments, radiation, and the serious side effects of chemo, she may have a lot that she wants to talk about. Simply listening without saying too much can be just the emotional support she needs.
Be prepared to ask important questions like "what can I do to help?" Offering assistance is a great way to be supportive of a person battling breast cancer. As she undergoes treatment, a breast cancer patient may need help grocery shopping or with child care. Asking how you can help is one way to get involved with your loved one's care plan without knowing too much about the medical side of breast cancer treatment.
Educate Yourself About Breast Cancer
One way to support someone with breast cancer is to do your own research about the disease so that you can anticipate how to help moving forward. Sometimes, asking a cancer patient too many questions about their condition can be overwhelming. They may feel uncomfortable if they have to constantly explain their oncology visits, prognosis, medication, or what they need.
By doing your own research on different types of breast cancer, and common cancer care methods, you can have a less demanding dialogue for the patient. It'll help you understand the prognosis of difficult-to-understand diagnoses, like metastatic breast cancer or sarcoma. This personal research can also help you understand the different treatment methods, like radiation therapy or mastectomy, so you know best how to support your loved one. It can also help you anticipate her needs.
Learn who Else can Help
It's important to know that you're only one person and that it's impossible to provide the wide range of support that a breast cancer patient needs alone. It would help if you familiarized yourself with agencies in place to provide various services designed to support breast cancer patients.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the leading organizations dedicated to providing breast cancer support to women at all stages of the disease. The organization has programs that provide mammograms to women who need them and services that help breast cancer patients get the help they need. These services include support groups and educational programs to help women understand their medical records, risk factors, and treatment plan. The Foundation even provides support services for breast cancer survivors.
The American Cancer Society also provides support to patients. It also works to expand cancer research through fundraising for research. The organization has funded many grants that have provided innovative clinical trials to find a cure for cancer.
It's also essential that you look for your own support network as well. Family members and caregivers of breast cancer patients are often put under a lot of stress when trying to help their loved ones. Many organizations like the ones listed above can assist you in finding the assistance you need, so you can continue to support the fighter in your life.
Remember to Celebrate the Wins
Fighting cancer is a long-term battle. One of the best ways to support the well-being of the breast cancer patient in your life is to stay optimistic and celebrate often. It's easy to let the difficulty of a cancer journey make you feel down. However, celebrating small victories, like going for a walk, positive follow-up appointments, and good days can help improve your loved one's quality of life.
Having gratitude is a crucial tenant of mental wellness and can help improve medical prognosis. Make sure to remind your loved one of all the good things, so they don't lose sight of them when the battle gets hard.
A great way to celebrate the strength of the breast cancer patient in your life is with a small gift so she can remember to stay strong when times are thought. You can also give her a small piece of jewelry to remind them of your love. Make sure to buy jewelry made of non-reactive metals so that it won't cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin. One option is Alexis Jae's unique pink diamond string bracelet that they released for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 100% of the proceeds go towards A Cure in Our Lifetime, an organization that supports innovative breast cancer research and treatments to find a cure as soon as possible.
Supporting a loved one through a breast cancer diagnosis isn't always easy. There will be difficult days and challenging conversations. However, if you're optimistic and put your loved one's care first, you can be an essential part of supporting her fight.