How to support someone through their cancer treatment 

How to support someone through their cancer treatment 

The assistance of family and friends is essential for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. However, a cancer diagnosis frequently comes as a complete shock to everyone, not just the patient themselves. Despite their best intentions, those who have not directly dealt with cancer cannot fully comprehend what their loved one is going through on an emotional and physical level. 

What advice can you give as you navigate through this unknown territory with your loved one and be there for them through every step of their cancer treatment? Read on as we explain how you can support your loved ones while they undergo cancer treatment.

Actively listen

While it seems simple, listening to someone with cancer is frequently quite complex. We want to improve things. We want things fixed. But what the most helpful in this situation is a sympathetic ear. Allowing your loved ones to express their sentiments will help you feel better, even if they are uncomfortable. If your loved one brings up a serious subject, like death, you may assume they have been considering it for some time. Give them the chance to experience the comfort of sharing. Don't pass judgment, stay out of the way, and pay attention with more than just your ears. Also, remember that, despite popular belief, maintaining a happy outlook while dealing with cancer has not been proven to affect survival. Your loved one must release bad feelings and communicate them to a reliable friend or family member.

First, take care of your own feelings:

We experience our own unique mix of challenging emotions and worries as caretakers. How will my loved one fare? Do they expect pain? Will they make it? How am I going to fare? How will my life alter? To genuinely be able to listen intently, try to overcome your own worries first. Perhaps you're also dealing with grief. Make sure to read about anticipatory sorrow if you feel isolated in the challenging space between trying to keep optimism and grieving the future.

Repeat "I love you" a lot

Regardless of how much your actions show your love, they cannot replace your words. Gratify them. Honour their efforts. Let them know that you appreciate them and how they are doing so well, even if the only thing they can manage after a round of chemotherapy is to clean their teeth.

Take a step into their shoes (Not Literally)

Consider putting yourself in your loved one's position as you read the remaining advice. What does having cancer actually feel like? Of course, envisioning the suffering, worries, and emotional ups and downs of cancer won't offer you a comprehensive understanding of it, but picturing yourself dealing with it might give you some ideas you might not otherwise have.

Always be there to lend a hand 

Cancer patients must race to their appointments and endure irksome side symptoms like cancer-related fatigue, but life goes on. Bills mount up. Dust amasses. Simple gestures like offering to clean the house for an hour are frequently appreciated. Do not wait for a loved one to request assistance. Can I come and cook lunch for you and clean your kitchen on Wednesday at 2:00? Here, being explicit while offering assistance is crucial and means your loved one does not have to make more decisions.

Offer to attend appointments with them

Going to appointments or their treatment with them is one way to show how much you care. Waiting may be agonising at clinics and hospitals, which can be frustrating. So pack a notebook, talk with them in advance if they have any questions they want to ask and take notes for them. Be guided by them and their energy level on the day as to how you can support them during their appointments. Most of all, just being there with them is often enough. 

Add a tiny little bit of humour

The most effective treatment is humour. Be understanding when your loved one wants to vent their sorrow, but be prepared to grin and laugh as well. Always remember that even a little laughter will help shine a light and make them feel so much better. It’s always the tiny things that can make someone's day a better one.

Observe their need for privacy

Sometimes our cancer-stricken loved ones say they want to be by themselves so they don't disturb us, but other times they really do need time alone. Observe additional guests. Does your loved one feel obligated to entertain them yet avoid offending them by asking them to leave? If so, politely inform these other guests that your loved one seems exhausted and express your gratitude for their presence.

Do not conceal anything from them or other family members

Even if it hurts, our loved ones with cancer require an honest evaluation of their status to make decisions that best suit their requirements. Be truthful with your family, especially the younger members. Although we wish to shield our kids from the hardships that their parents or grandparents could be experiencing, they frequently assume the worst. Even if the outlook is grim, being open and honest with kids gives them the chance to start mourning and show their love.

 Encourage your family to use the Ring Theory of Support, It's a real game changer 

It's a straightforward idea that may benefit people with cancer and their loved ones. Let's examine its operation. Draw a tiny circle to begin. The ring's centre is located here. Put the name of the individual who is the focal point of the crisis or cancer diagnosis in there. (That’s you if you have cancer.) Put your name in the circle accordingly. If you are a friend or caregiver, place the patient's name in the middle. 

The next step is to encircle the initial circle with a little bigger one. Put the name of the next person who is most familiar with the circumstance in that ring. The patient's best friend, carer, lover, parents and sibling are all potential candidates. You can do this as many times as necessary placing more distant relatives and acquaintances in the larger circles. Smaller rings are for the people who are closest and most important to the person in focus. 

Once finished, you have a complaint order! 

These guidelines apply. The individual who occupies the middle of the rings is free to communicate with anybody, anytime, wherever. As much as they want, they can gripe, moan, and say things like "life is unfair" and "why me." The key is that those in larger rings are there to hear what the people in the rest of the rings have to say.

The objective is this: Comfort in, Dump out. Pour love and support to anyone in the smaller rings than you, and utilize a kind ear if you need to vent and complain, grieve and cry to anyone in a larger ring than you are. Speaking is not always useful, so before you do, consider whether what you are about to say is likely to be consoling and encouraging. Don't say it if you don't! It's absolutely OK to yell, weep, or complain. Having a loved one go through a trying situation like cancer is quite natural. Just be sure to perform it in a larger ring then dump it out! Pour in affection, solace, love and assistance. Dump out all negativity, grievances, and pain. 

Comfort in, dump out is a straightforward principle that many cancer sufferers claim has tremendously benefited them and their loved ones. Hopefully, it will help you and your friends and family understand how to support someone who has cancer.

So there you have a selection of tips that will help you to support your loved one through their cancer treatment. At Brighter Day, our values stem from a desire to foster a positive perspective for people who share the same experience including patients, family, friends, physicians, nurses, partners, and suppliers, essentially elevating the medical profession as a whole via the catalyst of care. One of the numerous Australian women who have received a cancer diagnosis in recent years is the founder, Jane Elliott, who is currently receiving immunotherapy to treat the cancer. She has gone on to create a unique collection of practical clothing that nonetheless offers a relaxed, modern sense of style and allows for simple access to a chest port for treatment. It's been purposefully designed for the person, not just the patient.

Browse our selection of functional and colourful clothing to help you feel comfortable and supported throughout cancer treatment.

Newer Post →

Brighter Day Blog

Scanxiety Explained - 5 ways to cope

Explained: What is Scanxiety and 5 Ways to Cope

By Jane Elliott

Patient Insight: Stage IV melanoma patient Drew shares his tips for managing scanxiety

Read more
It's Not "Just" Hair - Why Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment Can Be So Difficult

It's Not "Just" Hair - Why Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment Can Be So Difficult

By Jane Elliott

Why hair loss can be stressful, and some practical ways you can handle your new look

Read more