If someone in your family has just been diagnosed with breast cancer you may wonder what you can do or say to help them during this difficult time. Breast cancer patients need a lot of support, assistance, and encouragement and you may feel scared that you will say the wrong thing or somehow make the situation worse. Here you can find some tips on how you can talk to and assist your family member during this difficult time.

Tips on How You can help a Family Member Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

  • Do not ignore her diagnosis. Whatever you do, do not ignore her diagnosis. Ignoring or refusing to talk about her diagnosis will make her feel hurt and isolated. You can start talking with her about her diagnosis by asking her if she wants to talk about her diagnosis with you. Some women feel more comfortable just sharing their thoughts about breast cancer with their spouse or significant other, while other women want to share their thoughts with friends, family members, or a group of people. Finding out how much she wants to talk with you about her diagnosis will help you respect her wishes.
  • Be there for her. Just being there to comfort, reassure, and support her is the most important way you can help her during this time. You can be there for her in the following ways:  call her on the phone to see how she is doing, bake her family a meal, clean her house, offer to do her laundry, give her spouse or significant other a break, or send her a card. Anything you can do that shows support for her and her family during this tough time is helpful.
  • Encourage her. Compliment her on her bravery and courage. Tell her how much she has inspired you to get a mammogram and perform monthly breast exams. If her hair falls out and she wants to buy a wig, offer to take her around town to try on different wigs. Do what you can to encourage her.
  • Talk about her, not just the diagnosis. Make sure you ask her about her spouse, children, job, siblings, friends, and other roles she has in life. Offer to take her to a movie, shopping, or lunch when she feels like getting out of the house.
  • Participate in breast cancer research. Walk, run, or donate money for breast cancer research, in her honor. Wear a pink ribbon to show your support. This will show her how much she means to you and how you are doing your part to help find a cure.
  • Offer to go to appointments with her. Offer to go with her to her chemotherapy sessions and/or doctor’s visits. If her spouse usually takes her to her appointments, ask to take his place, on occasion, so he can take a break and get some rest.
  • Join a support group. A support group for family members of breast cancer patients will help you get the support you need during this difficult time. In breast cancer support groups, you can ask questions and get feedback from people going through situations similar to what you are going through.

The main thing she needs is for you to be there for her, call her, encourage her, and let her know that you are thinking of her. If you have any questions about how you can support a family member who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer please make an appointment with Dr. Hessel today. We are always here to answer your questions and give you the information you need to stay healthy.