Reports have confirmed that between 1989 and 2017, the deaths of patients in the USA caused by breast cancer decreased by a massive 40%.
The staggering success is mostly attributed to advancements in the treatment of this type of cancer. An equally as important factor has been the increased public awareness resulting in better early-stage detection.
Of course, this statistic becomes completely meaningless when you, your friend, family member, or loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer.
The sheer impact of the news can devastate anyone, and even if they manage to beat the disease, its mark may still haunt them for years afterward. The help of their support network of friends and family will be invaluable while the patient is on their journey towards becoming healthy again.
Ideally, you would like the patient to feel cared for, pampered, and comforted during the initial diagnosis stages and following through the potentially lengthy chemotherapy treatment.
The actions you take should be based on the person’s individual preferences, attitude, and disposition. And while each cancer treatment is unique, there are some common elements that you can help with.
Make a Care Package
Picking thoughtfully selected breast cancer gifts and arranging them in a care package could be a great first step. During chemotherapy, many patients experience nausea, get cold from the treatment, or need something to help them pass the long hours of the chemo sessions.
As such, you can try to include a warm and cosy blanket or a pair of extra fluffy socks or gloves. An interesting book, a streaming subscription, a handheld game console could also be greatly appreciated. Any food items or skin creams and lotions could be tricky items to include, so consulting the person beforehand may be necessary.
So are any items related to hair loss. This is a touchy subject for most people, and it is not even certain that they will lose their hair entirely.
Be Available and Listen
The cancer patient is most likely dealing with a perfect storm of emotions, thoughts, and the need to make major decisions that may have life-changing ramifications. As their friend, relative, or partner, offer your support by listening and allowing them to freely switch from being in a hopeful and positive mood to a gloomy and depressed period.
You may need to pick your words carefully and repress the natural need to impose your own feelings or thoughts on the person. After all, they are the ones battling the deadly disease.
Just being there and giving them the opportunity to vent all of their frustrations without being judged or told what to do could prove to be indispensable.
Help With Chores
Cancer patients often feel tired and indisposed after a chemotherapy session. In general, they may lose a lot of weight and become far less active and energetic.
Offering to come over and help with their daily chores such as grocery shopping, cleaning around the house, or cooking could greatly lessen the burden on the patient.
You can even make a schedule with their other friends and relatives and figure out when people are free and what they could help with—for example, babysitting their kids or taking any pets on a walk during the lengthy chemo sessions.
Organise A Stay-In Night
Don’t forget that the cancer patient is still a human being and is not defined by the disease. They can crave human interaction just as much but could have limited options to go out due to risks to their health. Even more so in the current world situation where the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
To distract them from their everyday concerns, think about organising regular stay-in nights where you and your loved one can get cosy, watch some entertaining movies, or simply talk about anything that might pop up as a topic.
Doing so will bring a bit of normalcy to their current situation and could recharge their mental fortitude to get up and face the next round of chemotherapy.
Don’t Assume Anything
Cancer treatment could have some unforeseen side effects, so asking the person is always preferable before going out and buying stuff. Even if you know their preferences intimately, buying their favourite food may turn out to be the wrong move.
It is entirely possible that what they liked to eat and drink before could now cause them to get nauseous. Furthermore, many cancer patients go on strict diets depending on their needs, with most adopting a weight-gain program to compensate for their loss in weight and appetite.