Helping Someone with Breast Cancer

When you first find out that someone you know and care about has breast cancer, you just want to envelop them in prayers and love. Here are some practical ways that we found useful: Offer to attend clinic sessions with him/ her, good company takes away the stress and worry Take him/her out for lunch or tea, a walk, or simply a drive out, it can get very boring staring at the same four walls. Cook some homemade meals that can be used immediately or frozen down. Bake or take a cake round to share. Offer to do the ironing or hoovering, which can be particularly difficult after surgery. Some pampering, a facial, wash and blow dry hair, paint nails, manicures, pedicures, anything that makes them feel good. Treat them as normal, don’t fuss, offer support and encouragement, but respect that they have to make their own way through this. As an employer, allow them to come into work and complete a simple task – feeling needed is important and a purpose to get up each day. Make sure that he/she has met the Breast Care Nurse and has someone at the hospital they can ring or talk to when worried. If they want information help them to find it, otherwise don’t bombard them with info found on the internet etc – a good hospital team will keep them up to date on all that is relevant to him/her. Take them shopping or do their shopping. Offer to baby sit the children/walk the dog. Ask what you can do to help. Drive them to radiotherapy appointments and make an outing of it, meal out etc. Buy him/her some relaxation music. Giving them some company if they live alone - but also know when to back off. A silk pillowcase - such a treat for a sensitive scalp and slight relief from hot sweats. Encourage them to set up a WhatsApp group or Facebook messenger group, this gives them control and helps keep close friends connected without having to keep repeating themselves. If they haven't got a Kindle or tablet- buy or lend them one so that they can download books, games they can play with friends, Spotify membership around £10, so they can make music playlists.  Download programmes/films from BBCiPlayer, Radio iPlayer for them when in hospital or when they are awake in the early hours.

Some points that we felt were definitely unhelpful:

Ringing up and telling them other breast cancer stories and passing on your anxieties – he/she has enough to cope with. Making suggestions that other hospitals may be better than the one he/she is attending/another surgeon better qualified etc are not helpful – they need to trust the team that they are working with. People bringing round mastectomy/wig catalogues before they've had a chance to get their head around things. Don't pester for details, it's exhausting explaining everything.
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Hastings and Bexhill Area Breast Cancer Support Group

Helping Someone

with Breast Cancer

When you first find out that someone you know and care about has breast cancer, you just want to envelop them in prayers and love. Here are some practical ways that we found useful: Offer to attend clinic sessions with him/ her, good company takes away the stress and worry Take him/her out for lunch or tea, a walk, or simply a drive out, it can get very boring staring at the same four walls. Cook some homemade meals that can be used immediately or frozen down. Bake or take a cake round to share. Offer to do the ironing or hoovering, which can be particularly difficult after surgery. Some pampering, a facial, wash and blow dry hair, paint nails, manicures, pedicures, anything that makes them feel good. Treat them as normal, don’t fuss, offer support and encouragement, but respect that they have to make their own way through this. As an employer, allow them to come into work and complete a simple task – feeling needed is important and a purpose to get up each day. Make sure that he/she has met the Breast Care Nurse and has someone at the hospital they can ring or talk to when worried. If they want information help them to find it, otherwise don’t bombard them with info found on the internet etc – a good hospital team will keep them up to date on all that is relevant to him/her. Take them shopping or do their shopping. Offer to baby sit the children/walk the dog. Ask what you can do to help. Drive them to radiotherapy appointments and make an outing of it, meal out etc. Buy him/her some relaxation music. Giving them some company if they live alone - but also know when to back off. A silk pillowcase - such a treat for a sensitive scalp and slight relief from hot sweats. Encourage them to set up a WhatsApp group or Facebook messenger group, this gives them control and helps keep close friends connected without having to keep repeating themselves. If they haven't got a Kindle or tablet- buy or lend them one so that they can download books, games they can play with friends, Spotify membership around £10, so they can make music playlists.  Download programmes/films from BBCiPlayer, Radio iPlayer for them when in hospital or when they are awake in the early hours. Some points that we felt were definitely unhelpful: Ringing up and telling them other breast cancer stories and passing on your anxieties – he/she has enough to cope with. Making suggestions that other hospitals may be better than the one he/she is attending/another surgeon better qualified etc are not helpful – they need to trust the team that they are working with. People bringing round mastectomy/wig catalogues before they've had a chance to get their head around things. Don't pester for details, it's exhausting explaining everything.
                      
Hastings and Bexhill Area Breast Cancer Support Group