How to help a loved one during cancer treatment

cancer treatment couple holding hands comforting each otherSeeing someone you love battling cancer can make you feel helpless. However, there are things you can do to support those receiving cancer treatment, help make the journey easier, and improve their quality of life.

Here are some ideas to assist someone you care about during this difficult time.


Lower anxiety levels

Patients receiving cancer treatment often face anxiety issues, and as Nursing in Practice explains, anxiety is a natural response to the threat of cancer. You might see anxiety manifested in your loved one in a number of different ways. While these symptoms could potentially be treated with medication, finding behavioural remedies is often more in line with the patient’s desires, and offers a better long-term solution. Consider helping your loved one by setting up an at-home area for relaxation. A meditation room or space for quiet contemplation, with an abundance of natural light and a view of some green space, can help with finding peace, resting, and enjoying restorative quiet time.

Take care of the to-do list

Cancer treatment takes a toll on people in many ways, and your loved one needs to conserve strength and energy for treatment. One of the ways you can help is to lend a hand with daily responsibilities, lifting menial burdens so your loved one can tend to other things. Run errands, tidy the house, walk the dog, or do the gardening. Offer to pick up prescriptions and shopping. Even running payments to utility companies or mailing checks might be appreciated. 

Watching dependants

If someone you care about is battling cancer and has children or pets, those dependants can often be left without a lot of interaction. What’s more, young children and pets don’t comprehend what is happening and can be experiencing anxiety and stress from the difference in schedules and atmosphere. What Next points out offering to babysit or pet sit whenever your loved one needs quiet time, or is facing particularly difficult or time-consuming appointments, can be a big help.   

Coordinating efforts

Making some phone calls and connecting with others who would like to assist your loved one is an important way to help someone battling cancer. Your loved one can be inundated with visitors at times when rest would be better. Or, a steady flow of lasagne’s might come one week, but no food the next. Communication and coordination can eliminate a lot of duplicate efforts. You can even schedule visits around medical appointments, gathering groups of friends to come at appropriate times so your loved one isn’t as exhausted.

Monitor your own responses

It’s important to understand your loved one is still the same person, and by looking beyond the diagnosis, you can help provide normalcy and comfort. Aim to interact naturally and as you always have. Think about the kinds of things you would typically talk about, and continue to have those types of conversations. Talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. If your loved one wants to talk about cancer, listen, but don’t make everything about the cancer. 

Battling cancer is hard on everyone. Look for ways to assist, comfort, and support your loved one. There is a lot you can do to help with this difficult journey.

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