Ask any cancer patient - “How can I help?” is likely the #1 phrase well-meaning friends and family say when they hear about their diagnosis. But it’s also one of the most difficult lines of conversation to manage for patients. In the moment it’s hard for any patient to know what they will need until they are well into their treatment plans. At that point, so few patients (especially women!) are good at reaching out and asking for help.
Most patients struggle with asking for help because they do not want to be a burden to their friends and family. Positioning your support as easy for you, is one of the best ways to provide patients with guilt-free support. Here are some thought starters:
- “I know you have a lot on your plate, so I don’t want you to worry about cooking. I am going to start a meal train and send a sign up to the Book Club ladies and carpool group. Are there any dietary restrictions I should keep in mind?”
- “Hey, I am going to the grocery store Saturday morning. Send over your grocery list and I will drop them off at your house on my way home.”
- “I will be out and about for the next couple of hours, is there anything you need me to grab? Prescriptions? Snacks for the kids? Cherry Limeade from Sonic? Let me know!”
Cancer patients have tons of medical appointments. From post-op checkups to radiation and chemotherapy treatments, they will likely spend a ton of time driving to and from appointments and sitting in medical waiting rooms. If you have a flexible schedule, offering to drive them or keep them company at medical appointments is another genuinely helpful way to provide support. It’s a balancing act, as some patients will want your company, and others might not. Here’s how to make the offer without being obtrusive:
- “I’ve got a flexible schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Let me know if you are too exhausted to drive or if you’d like some company during your appointments – if so, what time should I pick you up?
Most patients will happily share their treatment schedule with you - all you have to do is ask. Once you know when their surgeries are, you'll know when to send them a Balm Box. Gifts during this time are tricky, as it can be hard to know what they need and want. Filling their house with fresh flowers sounds great, until you learn that strong scents make them nauseous during chemo… The Balm Box Gift Boxes are curated based on market research and direct feedback from the cancer community, ensuring you gift items they genuinely want and need.
At the end of the day, all anyone wants to do is be there for a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes it can be challenging to do so, especially when you don’t know exactly what to say or do.
Any other ideas you would like to share that have worked for you? Share them in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!