What Women with Breast Cancer Want Others to Know
When a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, family and friends may not be sure what to say or do. Breast cancer can be a challenging time emotionally and physically for anyone, which can put a strain on personal relationships. Caregivers and supportive loved ones often mean well when and want to help, but lack of experience and knowledge can cause rifts and tension even amongst the most intimate of relationships.
So what are some things that people with breast cancer wish others would know? It can be hard for anyone going through such a terrible disease to have trouble expressing their needs and emotions in a clear and concise way. Topics are sensitive and emotions are pulled taut from the stressors of going through treatment.
It can be hard for breast cancer sufferers to tell you when they are hurt or offended by things you say, and sometimes it's also scary to open up about the painful struggles of their experience. So we've put together some things that people with breast cancer might wish you knew to help you sympathize with their situation in a more understanding way.
The fear never goes away
The reality is, cancer is scary. Just because the person was diagnosed with cancer and may have been living with it for some time, the fear doesn't really get much better. People with cancer often still feel very vulnerable, and no matter how well treatment is going, there is always some level of worry in the back of their minds about recurrence or worsening disease.
People with cancer might not always want to ask for help
Most people with breast cancer are still not very used to being a little less independent than before. Because of this, your loved one may not call you right away if they need help or support. Likely, they aren't used to feeling this helpless, and might even be a little ashamed that they need to ask for help in the first place. So if someone you care about is suffering from breast cancer, make an effort to reach out to them first. They likely will appreciate it and will be so glad to have your support.
People with breast cancer will go through raw and intense emotions
Going through cancer treatment will often bring on some very real and intense emotions. It's not easy to battle such a terrible disease, and your loved one will probably experience anger and grief at some point during their treatment. It's important to let them feel their emotions as they are, so don't judge them if they get mad or upset about something. Their feelings shouldn't be minimized or brushed off and blamed because of their illness.
It can get stressful and your loved one might snap unintentionally
Stress levels and anxiety can reach new levels with people when they battle cancer. This can make your friend or family member snap at you for something that you might otherwise think is silly. Try to be a little more forgiving with your loved one during these difficult times. They probably feel terrible for snapping and acting erratically different from their usual behavior. The stress and pain of having cancer can really be trying on anyone.
Read on to learn more about what someone with breast cancer would want you to know.