Do you have a friend or colleague who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? Are you unsure how this may affect your relationship or what kind of support you can offer?
To help you, we have compiled this page of useful tips and strategies from women who have experienced breast cancer. Of course, not every individual wants the same type of support. Wherever possible, try to take your lead from your friend. Listen for cues and don’t be afraid to ask what they need or to make a suggestion.
Offering your friend or colleague emotional help during their breast cancer journey can be very powerful. Simply taking the time to check in with them and ask how they are getting on can be rewarding for the both of you. Here are a few tips in case you’re not sure where to start.
For many women with breast cancer, receiving practical help with things such as meals, shopping and housework can be enormously helpful. Here are a few ideas of what you might be able to do to help your friend or colleague:
Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment affects everyone differently. How your colleague is dealing with their diagnosis is a personal thing, although she is probably experiencing physical and emotional distress on some level.
The best way to help your colleague will depend on the type of work she does, the kind of treatment she is undertaking and whether or not she needs or wants to work.
Some women return to work as quickly as possible because they crave the normality and companionship that work offers. Others need time away from work to deal with breast cancer and its treatment. If you’re not sure what will help your colleague, you may find the following suggestions useful:
It’s normal to not know what to say to a friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. While just being you and giving her your time can be greatly beneficial, there are some things that probably won’t help:
Visit My Journey, BCNA’s online tool for information tailored to your diagnosis. My Journey has a Symptom Tracking tool that you can use to help you record your pain, what works for you and what doesn’t.
Join our Online Network if you think that talking to others online and sharing experiences will help.
Contact BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, for information about the services and support that may be available for you and your family.
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