What do I say to someone with cancer?
- Let the person who has cancer take the lead in conversations. If they want to talk, be a good listener. Hear what is being said and how it's being said.
- Be comfortable with silence. The person with cancer may need silence to collect their thoughts.
- Touching and smiling shows your family member or friend how much you care for them.
- Don't tell your friend or family member that you understand how they feel unless you have had cancer.
- If you're having a hard time with emotions and keeping your composure, tell this to the person who has cancer. Send a card or call them on the phone until you can see them without having to be comforted by them.
- Laughter and conversation about things besides cancer can be pleasant diversions to the person with cancer.
- Try to involve your family member or friend in as many shared activities as they have the stamina to be involved in.
- Writing notes, sending email cards or jokes, and phone calls can all be good gestures to show your family member or friend that you care.
- Your love and actions speak loudly. Showing your family member or friend that you care and love them is important.
- Remember to call, email, or send a note or card occasionally; not just when you first hear the person has cancer. Everyone likes to receive mail and know that they are remembered. Simply saying "I'm here and I care" is better than saying nothing at all.
Source: American Cancer Society and Sondra Selle of the Cary Cancer Center