Last year, 1.8 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer. One of them may be someone you know. If you haven’t had cancer, it may be difficult to understand what they are going through. Here is what you should and should not say.
“I was diagnosed with stage three metastasis breast cancer, cause it had spread to my lymph nodes,” said Veda Jackson, a breast cancer survivor.
The diagnosis can be devastating—the treatment—terrifying. So, what do you do? What do you say to someone diagnosed with cancer?
‘Don’t worry—everything will be ok.’ ‘You’re not the only one who’s been through it.’ ‘Look on the bright side.’ These are things you should not say when someone you know and love is diagnosed with cancer.
Instead, acknowledge their pain, offer to listen, and ask how you can help.
There are many ways to show your support. Offer what you are comfortable with.
Bring food but bring it in a throwaway dish so they don’t have to clean it and get it back to you. Offer services like cleaning their home, walking their dog, taking their kids for a day, or join them on a doctor’s visit and take notes.
You can also set up a meal train. Through www.mealtrain.com, you can coordinate meals for loved ones during a hard time.
If anything, just be there for them. This is a life altering event, so keep your relationship alive with patience, positivity, and kindness.
Experts also say not to give the patient open-ended questions like, ‘What I can do for you?’ Instead, say, ‘I’m going to the grocery store, what can I pick up for you while I’m there?’