Cancer Research UK estimates that one in eight women and one in 870 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime
It can be a tough time not only for the sufferer, but also for their friends and family. If someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer, it can be hard for you to process your feelings in order to properly give them support.
A study by Macmillan and YouGov found that nearly half of Brits who have a friend diagnosed with cancer find it difficult to support them—61 percent of them said this is because they are unsure of what to say.
Take the time to research your friend’s condition so your know what to expect when it comes to breast cancer. While you should avoid lecturing them on the subject—as they will already have heard all they need to know from their doctor—your friend may like to have someone to discuss their symptoms and treatment with.
Preparing yourself will also help you react when your friend has certain side effects—such as hair loss and weight loss—or a mastectomy. Controlling your emotions and avoiding adding further pressure on your friend is very important; it will help you provide the support they need.
Talking about it
Just because your friend has breast cancer, it doesn’t mean they have become a different person. Where possible, keep the conversation light and do things you used to do together. Don’t ignore uncomfortable or sad topics when they arise, but try not to wallow in them. Make sure you do avoid commenting on their physical appearance where possible, as they may feel self conscious about the changes their body goes through during treatment.
Respect your friend’s boundaries. They may feel that they have lost some privacy due to invasive medical procedures and so will appreciate you asking permission before giving advice, visiting and asking questions. This allows your friend to maintain some dignity.
Lend a helping hand
Having breast cancer can be a huge burden on someone’s life. As a friend, you can do your bit to help make everyday life easier. You could offer to babysit their children, cook them a meal, walk their dog or help out with housework. Many people find it hard to ask for help; even the smallest offer is useful. If they decline your offer, don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you could do small things such as offer them baked goods, entertainment such as a book or DVD, or to go with them to chemotherapy.
Often when someone if diagnosed with cancer, they will get a lot of offers of help only to have them disappear further down the line. Be the person who is always ready to offer help and stick to it.
To find out more about breast cancer, read this article on Celebrity Angels about Symptoms, Causes, Treatments And Medical Support