How To Support a Loved One with Cancer

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Finding out your loved one has cancer is both shocking and emotional. There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself to receive the news, but there are many options for you to take part in once you do know. The most important things are to be supportive and caring when visiting with your friend. Here are some suggestions to prepare yourself for your visit.


Remember to always ask before planning to visit someone with cancer. If they are in the hospital you don’t want to show up when they are in the middle of dinner or their nightly shower. You also wouldn’t want to come to their home right after a cancer treatment when they are completely wiped out and unable to visit with guests.

Be Informed

Before you come to visit become informed about what it is your friend is going through. They may or may not want to talk about it with you. That means it is your job to research their condition so you can have more information on oncology and be understanding and empathetic about their situation. You wouldn’t want to suggest grabbing a burger when your friend is on a very strict diet due to the medication they are taking.

Be Focused

Try and focus the on the needs of your friend. Pay attention to how they are feeling and if they are needing a break. Come with a plan to focus on them, and allow them to lead the conversation. They are going through a lot and they may just want to chat about anything but themselves. Be in tune to their needs.

Be Healthy

One of the worst things you can do for a friend that is fighting cancer is visiting them when you are sick and their immune system is down. You can do more damage with your little cold then you may realize. If you or someone in your house is feeling under the weather then give your friend a call instead of dropping by for an in-person visit.

What to Say to a Friend With Cancer

The Comprehensive Cancer Centers gives a list of do’s and don’ts to say to a friend with cancer.


  • If you want to talk, I’m here to listen.
  • I care about you.
  • How can I help?
  • I’m thinking about you or praying for you.


  • I know how you feel.
  • I know just what you should do.
  • Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Thoughtful Gifts

  • Books
  • Comfy clothes
  • Soaps and lotions
  • Gift cards to download movies or music
  • Flowers or balloons

Your loved one is going through a very difficult time right now. What they really need is your love and support. Any way that you can help, whether it is picking up their groceries or bringing their mail to the door, is greatly appreciated. Being willing and available means more than most people ever realize. Sometimes just a good laugh is the best medicine you can give to a weary friend.

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