Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

Finding out you have cancer of any kind can be earth-shattering. It can feel suffocating. Creating a support system can be make things slightly easier to deal with. Making sure you’re there to support those that need it is very important, so here are some ways in which you can do that.

Be available to Listen

It isn’t easy for anyone to hear that they have cancer, and sometimes the most important thing for someone is having a shoulder to lean on. Being there for someone doesn’t have to be an in-person thing; it can be a phone call where you talk things through or distract one another from what’s happening. Other times, it could just be you sitting there with them with no words spoken at all. Just being there for them can help more than you realize.

Let Them Know You Care

Reminding those who are dealing with a lot that you care about them is something so small, and yet so impactful. It’s a minor reminder that carries a lot of weight and can truly impact how they feel, so it doesn’t have to be anything huge. Truly, it can just be a text message that reads “Thinking about you xo,” just so they are aware that they are on your mind.

Help Them Around The house

Dealing with the diagnosis and the physical effects that it’ll have may cause them to feel extremely fatigued. Offering to come over and help them around the house with minor things like cooking or cleaning can truly help them a lot. It’ll allow for them to have some extra time to rest, while also allowing the two of you to spend quality time together. It’s a difficult time, so helping relieve stress can help them feel better about everything that’s going on, as it’s one less thing on their mind.

Assist with Appointments

Appointments following the diagnosis can be daunting and scary, so offering to go with can help make them easier to attend. There may be some that you cannot go into the room for, but you can still offer to drive to relieve any nerves they may have on the way to the meeting. This could also include offering them comfort after the meeting if they need it. Even if they do not want to talk about what happened during the meeting, having someone else with them can offer just as much support, as talked about previously.

Don’t talk negatively

It can be so easy to fall into a downward spiral about how terrible things are and how many fears you have about everything, whether you’re the one with the diagnosis or the one offering support. However, the last thing you want to do as a support system is voice these worries. It can be easy to begin researching breast cancer and being flooded with horror stories that stand out significantly more than the positive ones, and it can be so easy to call and talk about how horrible everything is. However, that is not offering anything positive to the situation, and it’s just making it more difficult to cope. Make sure to avoid this, as well as being overly positive and reminding them to “stay positive” as that can be the last thing that they want to hear. This may seem impossible to avoid both negativity and positivity; however, the best way to do it is to find a happy medium that works for everyone involved.

Prepare for mood changes

Something that is never easy to deal with is the mood changes that can come with the diagnosis. It’s a stressful time filled with various treatments and medications that all may have side effects on their mood, and you might not be fully prepared to deal with it. That’s completely okay, but being able to adjust and support accordingly is extremely important in this process. This includes trying to avoid being reactive during said mood changes. If they’re irritable and it’s making you upset, take a moment to collect yourself before you get angry at them. Consider why they may be feeling how they do, whether it’s general stress or a side effect. Continue to support them as you can, even if you have to take a few minutes to collect yourself before doing so.

Take care of yourself

One of the hardest things while supporting someone else is also remembering to take care of yourself. It can be extremely easy to place yourself at the bottom of your priority list. Therefore you’re not taking as much care of yourself. Your physical health is just as important as your mental health during the entire process. Take breaks as needed to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating enough. If you’re not in a good mindset because you’re exhausted or hungry, it can prevent you from offering adequate support. It is not selfish to care about yourself while also caring about someone else.

You may want to offer support to those who need it, but you might not know exactly how. Hopefully, these few tips will help guide your efforts in creating a strong support system.

Kylie Kruis

Bradley U '25

I am the current president at the Her Campus at Bradley University chapter. I oversee the general operations of the chapter, run meetings, and correspond with HCHQ. Beyond Her Campus, I am also the current community service exec chair for my sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. I have been part of the organization since my freshman year after leading a volunteer group for several years prior to college. I am also the current community service outreach member for Bradley's psychology club, Psi Chi and Psych Club. As the community service member for both, I am constantly reaching out to other organizations in the community to collaborate on creating a better overall town. I am currently a junior at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, majoring in Psychology and English - Creative Writing with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my boyfriend, spending the weekend with my family and dogs, and writing short stories. I'm a new Bachelor nation fan and have extremely strong opinions about most people on them. I also enjoy several podcasts ranging from comedy to true crime. My passion lies with volunteering and being a leader for others whenever possible.