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When Someone you love is fighting Breast cancer

- 29 January 2009, 03:01

Mary Olson Kelly, breast cancer survivor and founder of The Breast Wishes Institute, acknowledges that many people tend to want to give unsolicited advice to loved ones who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  An approach like this may not be therapeutic for you, or your loved one. Olson recommends taking the approach of being as supportive as possible.

Being supportive means many different things.  It can mean being available to listen to your loved one and discussing some of the choices they have made about their treatment, or choice of doctors.  It can mean being willing to be mostly a good listener, and not undermining your loved ones choices about treatment, diet, or any other issues related to their diagnosis and treatment. It can also mean offering help when needed with daily chores like cleaning, cooking, and errands.

It is also a good idea to encourage your loved one to have confidence in their decisions about treatment, particularly if they truly believe they will get well.  Your loved one wants to be assured you will be there for them as they take some difficult steps towards dealing with their cancer treatment.

It is likely your loved one has already been advised to join a recommended cancer support group, so it is not necessary to offer advice about support groups, unless your loved one asks you about it.  Chances are good they have already been given a referral by a doctor.

Also, refrain from eliciting questions about how your loved one feels about hair loss, or possibly facing death.  Unless your loved one asks you for your opinion, or a referral, resist the temptation to start sounding like an expert.  Let your loved one guide the discussions. Don’t force conversations that she may not be ready for.

There are many programs through The American Cancer Society that you can access, should your loved one need help with any issues like hair loss.  The American Cancer Society is the most extensive resource for you and your loved one.  You should be aware they train licensed cosmetologists to help cancer patient’s deal with hair loss and also help them look their best.


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