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I have a friend who is fighting breast cancer and has just finished her last chemo. She's starting radiology today. Any advice or support I can give her? Thanks!

By August 26, 2010 - 11:31am
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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi mrudy - Thanks for your question, and your concern for your friend. I am a breast cancer survivor and a leukemia survivor. The support of friends is incredibly important when you are dealing with cancer.

The first suggestion I would make is to avoid the use of words like "fight", "battle," "warrior" and so forth. While those words are helpful to fund raising campaigns, they are detrimental to those of us with cancer. No matter what type of cancer we have the fact is that our life is forever changed and we need to learn how to live with cancer and move forward. Negative words do harm, and it's more helpful to focus on healing, adjusting and restoring our health.

Along those lines, I would encourage you to review articles on our site, and others, about the cancer recovery process. Please do not confine your reading strictly to things that are labeled
as breast cancer information - our whole body is affected not just one body part. The broad-based cancer community on EmpowHER has very helpful information, as does our breast cancer community.

Good nutrition is critical, and our tastes/needs change when we are in treatment. For many of us things that people never think of are also issues, such as getting groceries, house cleaning,getting to appointments and other aspects of daily living that are just very hard to do while in treatment. Getting a helping hand, one that is delivered with love and without pity, is always appreciated.

Most of all, we need the opportunity to talk and have people listen to us. We do not want to hear stories about what other people think cancer is, what others have gone through and especially stories about people who have died. Let us, as the patient, help guide conversations and please don't make assumptions for us.

Support groups are critical for getting the information and resources that we need after treatment and for our new lives as cancer survivors. You may want to offer to research local support groups for your friend to save her the legwork and enable her to have several options to choose from if and when she feels that's something that she would like.

We don't want to talk about cancer all the time. Breaks are very welcome, so doing something like renting a funny movie is a wonderful gesture.

Depending on the level of involvement you want to take, there are also websites and support groups for caregivers that you may find helpful.

Let me know if this helps and if you have specific questions I'd be happy to help you with those as well. Again, thanks so much for wanting to be there for your friend during her time of need.

Take care,

August 26, 2010 - 5:37pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

thanks so much, pat! i will pass your information on to all of us in her support group. this is really helpful. i will suggest to her that she sign up for this site. it's a great site filled with great members like you and alison. so appreciative! have a great weekend!

August 27, 2010 - 9:46am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to mrudy)

You're very welcome, and I'm so glad to hear that she has a support group and more friends like you. Trust me, it really, really matters!! Please call on us anytime, here or you can also send me a direct message. I'm the Cancer Guide for EmpowHER and happy to help in whatever way we can.

August 27, 2010 - 10:34am

Hi mrudy,
You sound like a wonderful friend, and have no doubt already provided much support and encouragement!

While we wait for women to respond who have gone through breast cancer treatment (and can give you first-hand suggestions), I found some helpful links that may provide inspiration for you as a friend:

- EmpowHER video: How can mind, body, spirit integration aid breast cancer treatment
- Breast Cancer Discussion Group
- Patient Success Story

Please let us know how your friend is doing!

August 26, 2010 - 1:09pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

thank you so much, alison! i will read-up!

August 27, 2010 - 9:44am
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