6 Ways to Support a Friend with Breast Cancer
Breast cancer. If those words make you shudder, you’re not alone. In 2019, it’s estimated that 19,371 women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer1, so the chances are you already know a few women who have suffered or are suffering from this horrible disease. You may be wondering, what should I do if one of my friends is diagnosed with breast cancer? Should I shower her with 24/7 attention or proceed as if nothing has changed? The answer depends in part on the person and usually lies somewhere in between. Here are six ways to support a friend with breast cancer that embody all the hope, respect and love that she deserves.
Commit for the long haul
When someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, her world instantly changes. And often, those who rally around her in support in the beginning fade into the background as they return to business as usual. Don’t be a fader. Remember that breast cancer treatment is a long journey that can often include multiple rounds of treatment and constant anxiety and uncertainty. Check in with your friend regularly along the way. Sometimes simply asking, “how are you?” may be all she needs to hear.
Don’t forget her kids
Depending on their ages, the children of women with breast cancer often suffer in silence. They know their mum is sick, but they don’t have the understanding or maturity to deal with it. So jump in and lend a hand by being active in her kids’ lives. Take them on an outing, have a sleepover or bring some crafts with you when you visit. Encourage them to discuss their mum’s illness and make sure they know they can always talk to you if they are sad or have questions.
Become an advocate
Crank up the computer and start reading. Learn everything you can about breast cancer and share some of the actionable, positive information you’ve learned with your friend. Don’t be afraid to address the subject directly and tackle it head-on. Get involved in local activities that support breast cancer research and be committed. Remember – actions really do speak louder than words.
Make time for fun and festivities
There aren’t many subjects more somber than cancer, but a diagnosis shouldn’t mean you and your friend are sentenced to a life of gloom and doom. Get out the party hats and have a little fun. And do it often. Schedule an evening of silly movies or spend an afternoon doing something she loves.
Ger her moving
Research2 shows, the physical and mental benefits of exercise apply to women undergoing breast cancer treatment, too. Encourage your friend to go for regular walks outside, both for physical activity and fresh air. If you’re a Curves member, take her along as a guest for a full body workout. Once she gets started, she may want to add regular exercise to her agenda during her cancer treatment and recovery.
Dedicate a workout in her honour at Curves
Curves isn’t just about strengthening bodies. We support charities and organizations to strengthen others’ lives in more ways than one. Curves is a longtime partner of Cancer Council Australia and supports its mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
Cancer Council Australia and Curves are teaming up once again to help create a future without breast cancer. With your support, CCA is able to fund innovative research, health education, and advocacy programs that aim to reduce the incidence of breast cancer, lower mortality rates, and support women and their families who have experienced breast cancer. Find a Curves near you to get started.
Remember, when it comes to supporting a friend with breast cancer, the most important thing is to just be there for her... today, tomorrow, and always.