Whether you’re loved one was recently diagnosed, is undergoing treatment, or is on the road to recovery — you might be wondering how to support someone with breast cancer.
Regardless of whether someone is pursuing a traditional or a natural treatment for breast cancer, the emotional and physical trials that come along with a diagnosis are widespread. However, because each patients’ reaction to their diagnosis may be different it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly how to help and what to do.
From writing a card to offering a listening ear, we’ve compiled 10 ways of how to support someone with breast cancer. However you choose to show your support, know that if it comes from the heart — it will always help.
Make a Care Package
When in doubt, a care package will do the trick. By definition, to care is to feel concern or interest, to look after and provide for the emotional needs of someone. When people are sick, a care package does wonders for making them feel better. Care packages can come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re on a budget, stick to homemade items. Warm socks and soft blankets are a good thing to include, as are moisturizers and hand creams for dry skin. Smells can be strong when people are going through chemotherapy, so you might want to consider lotions and creams without any odor. Skin can also be sensitive when going through treatment, so keep this in mind as well. Throw in a beanie, headbands or scarves for friends and family who might be experiencing hair loss. There’ll be downtime as they rest and recover, so think of books, movies, and magazines. Knowing how to support someone with breast cancer can often come down to knowing their favorite things. From there, your care package is sure to shine.
Write a Card
Opening a card always feels good. It’s a reminder to the recipient that someone cares for them and is thinking of them. Whether you’re making an elaborate homemade card with glitter and puffy paint or keeping things simple with a store-bought one, cards are an excellent way to show your support to the patient. In addition to writing your card, you can also hold a “Card Drive” for your loved one diagnosed with cancer. Reach out to family and friends — and tell them to reach out to their family and friends — to help the mailbox overflow with love and emotional support. Getting kids involved in making cards will add an extra touch of whimsy and playfulness to your Card Drive.
Keep Things Open
When loved ones are battling their diagnosis, their emotions and physical states can fluctuate greatly from day-to-day. One day the patient might be up and about, doing dishes or watering plants in the garden. The next day they might be tired and more prone to spend the day resting in bed or on the couch. Keep things open and lighthearted by offering to be there for them when and how they need it. They might not want you to come over and cook breakfast tomorrow morning — but perhaps a picnic by the lake on a lazy Sunday will sound good. Make it known that you’re here to help in any way you can when the time feels right.
Cakes and cupcakes tend to signal happiness and celebration. If you aren’t sure what to do for your loved one, bake a cake. Write their name or an inspiring message on it. Better yet, invite friends and family over to enjoy the cake and throw a party to show your support and love. Encourage guests to bring feel-good gifts, like cozy socks, books, and favorite movies. Keep in mind, if your loved one is going through chemotherapy or radiation, their appetite changes. The importance of the baked goods rests in the love you put behind them. Keep your chin up and don’t feel bad if your baked good goes uneaten by the recipient (we’re sure there’ll be someone around who will enjoy it). As an added baking bonus, Scientists say that cooking and baking can help you feel relaxed and happy. Think of yourself as a cup: you want to keep your spirits high and your cup full, so you can give more to your loved one diagnosed with cancer.
Offer a Listening Ear
If you’re wondering how to support someone with breast cancer, one of the most important things you can do is to offer a listening ear. The emotional trials that your loved one is going through are intense. Often, women who have a breast cancer diagnosis will internalize their fears and anxieties as a way to protect their family and friends. Let your loved one know that it’s okay to talk about how they feel, what they want, and the decisions they’re faced with. While advice is often asked for, sometimes just listening is one of the best things we can do to show our support.
The emotion of surprise gets us excited and motivates our curiosity. It offers a sense of wonder, which is a beautiful feeling. Surprises can include things like flowers, gift baskets, puzzles, and warm new pajamas. They can also be given in the form of surprise visits, whether that’s a visit from you or a visit you’ve arranged with old friends. Write down a surprising story that recounts a happy memory or paint a picture to hang on the bedroom wall. Enlist the help of friends near and far to send surprise emails or messages that you can read out loud when your loved one needs some cheering up and emotional support. Frame an inspirational quote or put together a playlist filled with favorite, feel-good tunes.
Help with Family
One of the hardest things for breast cancer patients is that they’re worried about their families. On top of undergoing something so difficult and personal, they’re simultaneously thinking about how to pick their kids up from school or take the dog to the vet. Offer your assistance in ways of assistance in these everyday responsibilities, and continue to do so even if it’s at first declined. When offering help, you can be persistent without being pushy. Even if your loved one already has assistance with getting the kids to and from activities or handling the day-to-day tasks, there are plenty of other ways to offer your help. Maybe you can take the laundry to a laundromat or grab the grocery list and do some shopping. The little things will make a big difference.
When patients are undergoing treatment, meal preparation is key. Food often doesn’t sound good to cancer patients, as the treatment can leave them feeling nauseated and exhausted. It’s crucial to build up the health of the body so that it can continue to fight the cancer cells. One way to do this is through nutrition. Sit down and talk with your loved one about what foods sound good. Maybe berry protein shakes and simple chicken broth is all they want, or perhaps they get a craving for something more elaborate, like a casserole. When it comes to meal preparation, communicate beforehand then work your culinary magic after that.
When you’re considering how to support someone with breast cancer, it’s important to remember — keep fighting and keep showing up. Offer assistance in research of alternative breast cancer treatments and options on how to treat breast cancer with surgery to help them find the optimal solution. Loved ones might be showered with surprises, gifts, phone calls and cards at the beginning of their diagnosis. But they need continued support as they undergo treatment and move through the emotional journey of cancer. There will be days when the fight is harder than others. If you’re there to lift your loved one up on these days, to offer moments of inspiration and strength, you’ll help them to keep going.
One of the ways you can show your support is to hold a fund-raising event. Medical bills are expensive, especially if your loved one is on leave from work. Gather some friends and host a bake sale or a creative art auction. You can also research breast cancer events and walks in your area to help show your support.
Whether you’re picking up groceries, spending the afternoon talking, or finding the coziest pair of fluffy socks — your love and support play an important role in your loved one’s journey. Knowing how to support someone with breast cancer is different for every patient, but we hope this article has given you some ideas and inspiration.
At ITC, we find that patients with positive attitudes, and hope for their cancer therapy, see more successful results. We know that a patient’s circle of family and friends is crucial to their emotional and physical well-being.
Remember that the road to supporting loved ones during this time isn’t always an easy one. Give yourself just as much love and care as you do for them as coping with this disease is not easy. From all of us at ITC, we’re wishing you a wonderful, bright day ahead. Let it be filled with hope and positive energy
To Learn More About Alternative Breast Cancer Treatment at Immunity Therapy Center You Can Watch This Video From Dr. Bautista Himself:
Written By: Dr. David Alvarez
Dr. David Alvarez is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Xochicalco and Certified by the American Heart Association (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support).
Dr. Alvarez has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista as an Assistant Medical Director at the Immunity Therapy Center for over 6 years. He provides daily on site patient care and participates on the medical board on research and development of patient treatment plans and programs. Dr. Alvarez is a knowledgeable and compassionate Doctor committed to helping patients get to where they want to be health wise through a more holistic and comprehensive approach.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.