Family support for a person diagnosed with cancer
Breast Cancer,  Family

How family and friends can help those newly diagnosed?

Family and friends play a crucial role when someone is diagnosed with cancer. They can provide emotional and practical support that can make a significant difference.

Firstly, it’s important to be there for her. Do not assure her that everything will be okay because, to her, it’s anything but okay right now. Just being present, holding her hand, or hugging her can be comforting. Allow her to express her emotions openly. It might be challenging at times, but being a patient listener can help immensely.

Secondly, try to be of assistance in day-to-day life. Be it picking up her prescriptions, running errands, or helping around the house, especially when she’s in treatment and feeling ill or exhausted. Ask her what she needs from you instead of assuming what she might want.

In terms of emotional support, bear in mind that her journey will be like a roller-coaster. There will be highs and lows, sometimes in rapid succession. Understand that she might not always know how to articulate her feelings, so tune into her non-verbal cues.

Lastly, extend your support to her spouse as well. Amidst everything, they, too, might be struggling and would appreciate a check-in on their well-being.

You might find more helpful information on these links about how you can support those diagnosed with breast cancer: 

Talking to your family about your diagnosis

 Ways you can support your partner through a cancer diagnosis

Remember, the goal is to bring comfort and to help her navigate this challenging journey as smoothly as possible.

Ellyn Winters-Robinson is a breast cancer survivor, entrepreneur, author, in-demand speaker, women’s health advocate, professional communicator and a globally recognized health rebel. Ellyn's best-selling book "Flat Please Hold the Shame," is a girlfriend’s companion guide for those on the breast cancer journey. She is also the co-creator of, the world’s first conversational AI companion for those on the breast cancer journey. With Dense Breasts Canada and award-winning photographer Hilary Gauld, Ellyn also co-produced I WANT YOU TO KNOW, a celebrated photo essay showing the diverse faces and stories of 31 individuals on the breast cancer journey. Ellyn’s story and have been featured in People Magazine, Chatelaine Magazine, the Globe and Mail, CTV National News and Your Morning, and Fast Company.

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