Sunday, October 14, 2012

Helping to Cope with Breast Cancer

Organizations, worldwide, are focused on helping people with breast cancer to better cope with the disease and its treatment.  

Reach to Recovery is one of the  international organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families through peer support, advocacy and consumer involvement in research.

The Breast Cancer Network Australia, lists ways for friends and family of breast cancer patients help.
The web page reads: 

Friends can be a wonderful source of emotional and practical support during the breast cancer journey. Sometimes acquaintances become good friends but, sadly, close friends sometimes fall away, perhaps because they don't know what to say or how to help.

The following suggestions are from women who have had breast cancer -- the things they found helpful and unhelpful -- but it's clear that not everyone wants the same type or level of support. You should take your lead from your friend, listen for cues and don't be afraid to make suggestions.

  • Be available to listen -- let you friend know you're available to come over when needed. Cry with her, laugh with her, listen to her. Often there is no need for words.
  • Often women with breast cancer lie awake at night worrying. If you don't mind taking her calls in the middle of the night, let her know.
  • Don't be too afraid that you won't know what to say, just be yourself.
  • Let her know you care -- it's difficult to ask for help, but that doesn't mean your home-made meal won't be very gratefully accepted.

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