When cancer is the diagnosis.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to know what to say to a loved one or friend who has cancer.  Even when you want to be supportive, fear of saying the wrong thing can lead to saying nothing at all.  

Karamanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Lapeer offers these tips: 

  • Listen without judgement. Listening can be much more helpful than talking. Don’t ignore uncomfortable topics or emotions.  Acknowledge your loved one’s feelings and say you are right there with him or her. 
  • Offer to help. Instead of saying “call me if you need anything,” offer to help with a specific task.  Walking the dog, cooking a meal or running errands can help reduce stress for your loved one. 
  • Don’t focus solely on cancer. Patients need a break sometimes from talking about their cancer treatments. Remember, they still enjoy certain interests and activities. Treat him or her the same as you always have.
  • Don’t second guess or offer unsolicited advice: It’s easy to give advice, but it can create more stress if its inaccurate. Remember that each patients case is different, and it is important to support your loves ones decisions. 

When in doubt about what to say, the most important thing that you can do is be present and listen. Just being there shows that you care. Oftentimes, the little things can mean the most.

For more information on our oncology services, please call (810) 667-4994.

If you would like to join our support group, the cancer support group meets at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Lapeer Region in the library on the third Wednesday of every month, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, contact (248) 922-6623.