When Your Best Friend Has Breast Cancer

IMAGE If someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, your support will be an important part of their treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most people with cancer want to share the diagnosis with those closest to them. As a best friend, you will probably be one of the first to know. Initially, it will be an unsettling, emotional time for you both. You will have to deal with your own feelings of vulnerability and mortality, as well as the stresses of helping a friend cope.

Being a Best Friend

As a best friend you will be there for her during times of hope and despair, courage and fear, humor and anger, and the unknown. You may be the outlet for feelings she may not be able to express to anyone else. For example, anger is a very common feeling. Many emotions, like fear or worry, come out in anger. Just remember to not take it personally, she is counting on you. Best friends know each other's coping rituals, whether it is a good cry, talking, a mouthful of expletives, or temporary withdrawal. My own best friend immediately responded to her diagnosis of breast cancer in her usual manner—a take charge attitude with a dash of humor. As Betty Rollins, a breast cancer survivor and author of First You Cry, wrote: "Cancer won't bestow a sense of humor on someone who doesn't have it, but a sense of humor can sure get you through the experience.''

Being Part of the Family

Cancer is a family affair, and all involved will ride the emotional roller coaster accompanying the diagnosis and treatment. Since your best friend's loved ones may rely on you for information and direction, it is important to be available. On the other hand, you do not want to hamper or discourage family members from participating. You can offer your help, such as attending appointments and taking notes. Medical research indicates that patients hear a small percentage of what is discussed during the initial diagnostic period, their thoughts instead being on jobs, family responsibilities, and the physical effects on their bodies.There are times when all your friend needs to know is that things are being taken care of. If she has a family, reassure her that her husband and children will have lunches, rides, and hot meals.

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics: Health And Healing
Meet Our Health Experts
beginners heart

Beginner's Heart

Britton Gildersleeve
New! the gospel of tea

Mindfulness Matters

Arnie Kozak
New! Handling Rejection


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »