Help Your Loved One Cope With Breast Cancer
You want to help—that already makes you an extremely important person in her life. We have advice, tools and resources so you can give your loved one your best while caring for yourself.
Help Her Stay Organized
Helping your survivor manage the details during this stressful time is a great way to assist. She won’t always have an answer if you ask her what she needs, but suggesting to help in the following areas can help ease her burden.
Keep records. Your loved one will need to keep copies of all kinds of things to be prepared for different situations during her diagnosis and treatment. For example, she’ll want to file:
- Contact information for doctors, nurses or any healthcare provider
- Personal health history, including surgeries, allergies, hospitalizations and other health problems
- Diagnosis, pathology, scan and laboratory reports
- Treatment information, including drug names and dosages
- Insurance policies
Offering to keep track and file these for her (or assist her with doing so) could greatly reduce her stress and let her focus on feeling better.
Go to appointments with her. Offer to attend doctor’s appointments and take notes, and learn to communicate with her healthcare team. This will help with her record keeping, and you might even help her find answers. Familiarize yourself with medical terms and information by visiting our breast cancer 101 and understanding treatment pages. You can also learn more from our audio/video library.
Research financial assistance. Treating cancer isn’t cheap. Your loved one may need financial assistance, and there are options from government and nonprofit agencies to assist with the financial burden. Visit our financial assistance page to get started.
Handle her everyday tasks. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t alleviate anyone from the day-to-day. Your loved one will still need to eat, run errands, care for children and pay the bills.
There are many tools out there to help both you and her manage your day-to-day:
- Lotsa Helping Hands and Sign-Up Genius can help you rally your family and friends to assist with transportation, meals or visits. Many will want to help, but won’t know what they can do. With either of these sites, you can let your online circle sign up for the tasks that suit them best.
- MyLifeLine.org allows you to create a free personalized website that combines a helping calendar, blog and fundraising to keep track of everything in one place.
Communication is Key
Communicating with your loved one and helping her communicate with others helps to ease the emotional burden of dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Keep communication between you and your loved one open and honest. It will help you offer care more effectively. Understand that she will often worry just as much about you as you do about her, and that she might cope differently than you would cope with cancer. You may face difficult and emotional conversations. Be compassionate and sincere with yourself and the one you love to make the most of these talks.
Communicating with children, other family members and friends about a breast cancer diagnosis can present intense challenges. Every person is unique, and there is no “right” way for someone to cope. Be available to help her figure out the best way to tell the people she loves about her diagnosis.
Your loved one is experiencing something deeply profound. To better communicate and make your help as beneficial as possible, learn more about the experiences of other young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Read first-hand accounts in our informative and moving survivor stories.
We’re Here for You
On behalf of the young woman you love and all young women facing similar challenges, thank you for acting as a co-survivor. Remember, do the best you can, but you can’t do it all. We understand that you need support, too. Email us for additional resources. We are here for you during this challenging time.