How To Support A Loved One With Cancer 

Updated on September 1, 2022

Support from loved ones is important to cancer patients’ recovery. However, a cancer diagnosis often catches everyone by surprise and shifts people’s accustomed roles. For example, those who haven’t struggled with cancer cannot understand what their loved one is going through both physically and emotionally. 

If you have a loved one with cancer and don’t know how to show your love and support, make sure to read and see this article below: 

  • Offer Timely And Practical Help 

One of the ways to make things a bit easier for your loved one with cancer is to offer timely and practical help. It can be of great help to focus on daily and tangible things, such as doing the housework, running errands, and helping prepare meals. 

This won’t only help your loved one feel at ease, but it also shows how much you care and how you want to help them with their cancer journey. Just make sure to have a schedule for everything, particularly if you have work. 

  • Have A Phone Team 

Almost all cancer patients find that keeping family and friends updated on their latest status can be challenging at times. For this reason, having a phone team can be beneficial. This way, only one person in your group of family or friends reaches out and provides updates to the entire group.  

This person may also let everybody else know if the patient prefers to be alone or wants more phone calls. 

  • Respect Your Loved One’s Need To Be Alone 

In some instances, your loved one with cancer may want to be alone in the meantime. If that’s the case, respect it and monitor the other visitors. If your loved one feels that they have to entertain them but doesn’t want to offend or ask them to go, let those visitors know that your loved one feels tired, and don’t forget to thank them for visiting. 

  • Know That Everyone’s Illness Is Different 

Remember that although the kind of cancer your friend has is the same as someone else’s, the signs and symptoms of each person’s illness are distinct. If you’re looking for a connection, avoid making any comparisons.  

For instance, never say to your loved one that someone with the same type of cancer is doing great. It won’t help your loved one’s cancer journey and may even give them a hard time fighting their battle. 

  • Consciously Listen 

Listening to somebody with cancer may sound easy, but it’s often hard. Everyone wants to fix things or make things better. However, a listening ear is what helps the most when supporting someone with cancer. So, never hesitate to listen to your loved ones and encourage them to express their feelings, even if those feelings make you a bit uncomfortable. 

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Expect that your loved one will bring up certain topics, like dying. Even so, give them the opportunity to have the comfort of sharing. Never interrupt them, don’t judge, and listen with your body and eyes, not only your ears. 

Keeping a positive attitude may not always help and doesn’t guarantee it will influence the patient’s will to survive. However, listening to them provides them with the opportunity to explain how they’re feeling and helps them relieve tension from the situation they’re facing.  

  • Give Thoughtful Gifts 

Giving gifts to a loved one with cancer can be tricky for some reason. Flowers might not be appropriate for somebody whose immune system is already weak. However, magazines, books, movies, or puzzles can be a good idea, especially during chemotherapy. Significantly, the best gift you can give is spending quality time with them.  

  • Be Present During Appointments 

Attending appointments may also express how you care for and support your loved one. Clinics and hospitals can be frightening places, and waiting can be excruciating. Have a notepad, take notes, and ask some questions. However, be sure to allow your loved ones to make their own decisions. 

  • Make Them Smile Or Laugh 

It may sound cliché, but laughter is undoubtedly the best medicine. Things can be hard for a cancer patient after a chemotherapy session. By making them laugh or giving them a reason to smile, you can be assured that they’ll be able to regain their strength slowly. 

Laughter or silliness can keep things normal and light. This will give your loved one the opportunity to let loose and experience the joy that they thought they’d never experience again. Also, making your loved one smile or laugh can give them the courage to fight their battle well and believe in cancer miracles


Having cancer is difficult, but it’s especially tough during this pandemic. So, make sure to keep the above tips in mind and do your best to show your support for a loved one with cancer. Even if you may not be able to support your loved one financially, supporting them emotionally can be one of the greatest things you can do.