Supporting a friend through breast cancer can be difficult. You may be unsure how much your friend wants to tell you or how much your friend would like you to be involved.
Make sure you remain in close contact with your friend - she may be too tired, sick or worried to make contact with you. Don't take this as a sign she does not need or value your help or friendship.
Make sure you continually offer to be there for her and let her decide which of your offers of help or support she feels inclined to take advantage of. Remember, breast cancer treatment can often be a lonely and isolating time for women and friendships of all kinds are important.
Tips for helping a friend with breast cancer:
- Be there for your friend. Make time to visit on the good days and the bad days. Make sure your friend knows they can call on you.
- Offer practical support whenever you can, but be realistic about what you can do.
- Call your friend and ask "when" you can help, not "if" you can help. Don't take no for an answer. Sometimes women have trouble accepting help, make sure your friend accepts your help.
- Become a good listener. Listen to your friend’s thoughts and feelings. You don’t necessarily have to respond – just be there to hear her.
- Don’t offer advice or relay stories of others’ cancer experience.
- Let your friend know if you feel uncomfortable or unsure of what to say. This may help to break the ice.
- Remember that your friend will not necessarily want to talk about her illness. She may want to discuss everyday matters, family and friends. Respect her wishes and follow her lead.
- Try to enjoy relaxing activities with your friend that will be good for her wellbeing – a walk on the beach, enjoying a concert etc.