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A Simple Show of Support

When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it might seem like there are no right words to say. You might be afraid of saying something wrong and upsetting them or might not even know where to begin. While there are some obvious phrases to avoid, these ideas for how to express your support are a great place to start.

Send a quick message. Even something as simple as a “just checking in” text can express your concern. During treatment, your loved one might not be up for company or have the energy to speak on the phone, so a thoughtful text is a good option.

Write an e-mail, a card or a letter. If you are looking for something a little more personal, sending an e-mail, a card, or a letter is another great way to offer your messages of comfort. Understand that your loved one may not be able to respond quickly, but they will surely appreciate the gesture.

Send flowers. Flowers are a beautiful way to both show your support and lift their spirits—adding some cheer to their hospital room, bedroom, or home. However, before you send flowers, note that certain smells can trigger nausea, and flowers—which can hang on to bacteria—can also be dangerous if your loved one’s white blood cell count is low.

Prepare food. Delivering a home-cooked meal to their family is a helpful and thoughtful way to help ease some of the burden of having to prepare it themselves. Or consider bringing in your loved one’s favorite treat to help brighten their day—just be wary of any dietary restrictions.

Be sensitive to their needs. You may be frightened of saying or doing the wrong thing, but it’s important to keep the conversation geared toward subjects they’re interested in, and be attentive to your loved one’s energy level. It’s also important not to offer medical advice unless they ask for your opinion.

Keep comparisons out. It’s not always beneficial to try to relate their story to someone else you may know who underwent cancer treatments. Every experience is different, and even two people with the same type of cancer can have different symptoms and emotions. However, if you do know someone else who had the same type of cancer, perhaps offer to put them in touch.

For more ways to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit


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