Help Me. I Don’t Know How to Talk with Someone Who has Cancer

You’ve just got the news. Or actually you got the news some time ago and … you know you’ve got to do something… but you just haven’t…done…it…. Or, you spoke with your friend or loved one, and it felt really, really bad.

Cancer is scary. You’re scared. Your friend or loved one is scared. How can you walk toward cancer: make that phone call or visit, and then do it again?

There is no one “right” way to talk with a friend with cancer. The one thing you definitely should not do is not do anything. Even if she says she wants to be alone, that is not the end of her story or yours.

Whether you’re overwhelmed by feelings or you just feel numb – you’re not the first.

Here is a list of some resources to help you. You can also type into your browser’s search field: “How to talk with someone who has cancer” and find many more.

This site is a thorough discussion of how to talk to someone with cancer. It was written for people who live in Great Britain, but the feelings are exactly the same!

Some brief and practical suggestions.

There a number of books on how to talk with someone with cancer. Read them yourself, or perhaps you and your loved one could read them together. For example:

When Life Becomes Precious: The Essential Guide for Patients, Loved Ones, and Friends of Those Facing Serious Illnesses, by Elise Babcock

Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know, by Lori Hope

Hope in the Face of Cancer: A Survival Guide for the Journey You Did Not Choose, by Amy Givler