A woman with cancer hugging a friend

Supporting people close to you with cancer

Coping with cancer can be a difficult time in anyone’s life, and you may be wondering how you can best support those close to you in this situation. There are no hard and fast rules as each person’s experience will be different. We’ve pulled together a few ideas that you may like to consider.

Ask them how they are feeling

As we’ve already said, each individual’s cancer experience is a very personal thing. It’s important not to assume that they may be feeling a certain way. It may be that they want to share how they are feeling, but don’t be offended if it isn’t something that they want to talk about.

Emotional support

Make sure they are aware that you are there to support them, whether this be with a hug, a phone call, a card or a text message. Be a good listener, allow yourselves to be open and honest with each other, and don’t set any expectations as to how you think they should be feeling or behaving.

Practical support

They may also appreciate some practical support such as home-cooked meals for the freezer, help with the housework, support with travelling to appointments, or running errands. Make sure you ask beforehand however, as not everyone will want additional help.

Don't forget about you

Supporting someone through a tough experience requires you to also be taking care of yourself. Consider how you feel about the diagnosis and whether any additional support for yourself would be helpful.

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For further support visit:

Cancer Research UK