Unless you have had cancer yourself, it is almost impossible to know how someone feels once they have been diagnosed with cancer.  Your comments will all be well intentioned and coming from the right place, but there are some things you shouldn’t say and some you should.

If a friend or family member has just been told that they have cancer, do not tell them, “I know how you feel.”  Unless you have had cancer yourself, chances are you do not know how they feel and it can be insulting to tell them otherwise.  Instead, be someone that is there to listen and support.  Let them talk about how they are feeling; they may not even know themselves yet. 

Don’t act overly optimistic when a friend or family member confides in you that they have cancer.  Optimistic outlooks are helpful, but get all the details from the person first.  You do not know what the doctor has told them and being positive is helpful only if it is also realistic.  On the other hand, an over-reaction and carrying-on will not help support a person diagnosed with cancer either.  Don’t analyze why they got cancer, just on how it is going to be treated.  Take your cues from your friend, some days they may need you to be their cheerleader others their shoulder to cry on. 

Providing support to your family or friend with cancer is all that is needed from you.  Support of their emotions, support of their choice of treatments, and support that they can survive this.  Sometimes, the support you provide will be silent companionship, a ride to the doctor, or some frozen dinners in the freezer.  When someone close to you has been diagnosed with cancer it is a bumpy road – be ready for the highs and lows as they come.

Latest Article: American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society was formed in 1913 by a team of 15 doctors and has grown, evolved, and helped countless people that have been diagnosed with cancer to the society we know today.  The American Cancer Society is the place that you should go to for any and all information on cancer.  They have a call center – the National Cancer Information Center - that is...

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