For most cancer patients and their families, the experience of cancer is a profoundly stressful one. Emotional support is crucial for most cancer patients during their illness and can be acquired from different people and services throughout their journey. As a caregiver or someone who has a loved one with cancer, giving emotional support is not always easy. You want to be there for your friend or family member, but at the same time, you are also hurting and feeling emotional. So just how exactly do you give support and how do you give it without breaking down and hurting yourself in the process? According to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, there are a few key approaches to emotional support that are shown to be the most effective source of support for those who are experiencing cancer:
- Listen With Your Heart, Not Your Ears: Listening is one of the best ways to show support. Sometimes it is not necessarily what you say, but what you do. So listen closely! Knowing that they have a shoulder to cry on is a huge comfort.
- Support Groups: This is not necessarily something that a caregiver can execute by themselves, but they can strongly encourage loved ones to attend a support group! There are many types of support groups that can provide whatever kind of support that the person may be needing at that time.
- Be an Information Gatherer: Having information written down can ease some of the anxiety faced by people with cancer, and at times, can even make a difference in outcomes. Overall, being there and having a solid support system for a person with cancer can make a huge difference in their journey.
At Bluebird, we offer a cancer support group on the third Monday of each month from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. We offer support for both survivors and caregivers. Meetings are held at our office in Spring Lake: 917 W. Savidge St. , Suite 36, Spring Lake, MI. Email [email protected] for more information on our support groups.
Check out these websites for more information regarding emotional support for people with cancer: https://www.cancer.org/ & https://www.cancer.gov/
Written by: Lauren Burns, Summer 2019 Intern