A person dealing with cancer may find it difficult to ask others for help, so it seems right to offer to help in specific ways, rather than saying, “Call me if you need anything from me." So what ways can we offer support to someone with cancer? Some people find the small thoughtful gestures such as preparing a meal really helpful while others find larger gestures such as fundraising for a related cancer charity appropriate.
If you've had cancer or perhaps you helped out a friend or relative with cancer let us know what you found to be helpful in the Comments section below. What do you think?
What is helpful for someone undergoing treatment for cancer and their families?
If you know someone who has cancer and want to help them in any way possible you may like to order our Big C booklet or visit our OU news website complete with a five point guide on how to make a difference.
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i was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer in December 2009. Grade 4 Astrocytoma/Glioblastoma Multiforme. I had to stop working. I enjoyed my work. I started my treatment on 18/12/2010 and completed it on 24/2/2011. This consisted radical radiotherapy and chemotherapy. As it failed, I went to combination chemotherapy (PCV). I was told that I had 12 months to live when I started treatment in Jan 2010. I am still here. I was told I am in remission in May 2011. The tumour has not gone. There was no register for brain tumour and so the prognosis is based on the oncologist's past experience. I am one of five in a hundred to survive five years. I have six monthly brain MRIs now. After the initial devastation, I accepted the diagnosis and underwent treatment. I had to be strong for myself and my family. I have a wife a three children. I am the youngest of five and my mum is still alive. I ate healthily, continued walking my dog and we went on holidays in this country. I also campaigned for more research and greater awareness amongst the general public and the health professionals. My advice is keep strong, eat healthily, some exercise if possible and take the given prognosis with a pinch of salt and try and prove them wrong. I also appreciate that is does not work for all.
I've just started down the road of Bowel Cancer (not previously detected); the surgery (within 14 hrs); and now into the IV/Oral Chemo phase - with 6 months to go.
Its all a challenge what to read, who to listen to and what questions to ask, of whom. Indeed who to take with you as a confident. As I see it there is no 'golden bullet', we are all different in how we conprehend and communicate and all the other 'actors' are the same. None of the realionship 'pairs' will have the same charcteristcs.
Part of my apprach is to talk to everyone and to probe effectivley - no matter if it is a consultant, nurse, of fellow patient. Watching the Big C, on TV, has also helped - several of the pateints are clealy 'on the road' ahead of me. Sadly not all have had successful outcomes, which has made me more reflective.
At this early stage in my treatment, I dont want to offer any panacea - there are many more experinced than I. However, what I find helps me is to keep good documentation - I maintain good records of key parameters: weight, Blood Pressure, Exercise Routine and a symptoms check etc.
I also keep good files of all my appointments and more particulary the Consultant's Reports. I also make notes and cut out relevant advise from various bookets. In my mind, supported by the paperwork and interactions - i feel that I am developing a balanced, well informed viewpoint. I feel more able to probe those I relate to based on 'trends' from my health statistics balanced with the various viewpoints I've read/heard about.
In summary, I feel that already I am in full control of my situation and can be more effective, in getting the best value from those I interact with. I feel that if I take mastery of each dialogue and get all that I can from the situaion - it matters little if that person is less than effective. If they dont give the right caring words - or the right clarity - I ask others!
The reality is that all the people who surround cancer patients are trying to be caring and supportive. They are often chosing their words carefully to reduce the risk of adverse reactions. I certainly accept that this is always with the patients best interest in mind. Unfortunately we, as patents, often misjudge that. Blaming them for saying too much, or too little - thinking that they are uncaring or too direct?
Its up to us, as patients, to 'Take Control' (as Boris would say) - but not every patient is willing, of able, to play that role? In that case the situation is dis-functional and there is no obvoius solution to that and we should be aware that we add to our own stress?