A loved one with a prostate cancer diagnosis needs all the love and support you can provide, but how do you know what will help? It can be difficult for your loved one to discuss their diagnosis and therefore hard for you to anticipate their needs. This article will address just a few of the things you can do to ease your loved one’s suffering and to let them know you are always there for support.
1. Educate Yourself
The most compassionate thing you can do for your sick friend or family member is to educate yourself about their disease. Mayo Clinic has a thorough introductory article on Prostate Cancer diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment that will point you in the right direction as you begin your research. When you understand how your friend feels you can avoid asking uncomfortable questions and you can better anticipate their needs.
2. Donate Your Time
Cancer can be an isolating diagnosis. The pain, treatment side effects, and anxiety about operations can leave them feeling like they have nowhere to turn and no one that understands. Lend them your ear to help them feel less alone. Listen to their concerns and voice your sympathy without trying to solve their problems with the latest medical treatment fad you saw online. They are already receiving medical care from their doctors; what they need from you is a friend who tries to understand. Call them up occasionally just to chat and ask if/when it would be appropriate for you to visit them.
3. Donate Your Labor
Cancer and cancer treatment can zap the strength and vitality your loved one normally possesses. This can leave them falling behind on important tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, and dishes. Volunteer to come over to help on their schedule and ask them to keep you company by talking to you as you work (if they are feeling up to the task). Understand that it might be hard for your loved one to admit that they have been unable to keep their house clean or unable to cook for themselves. Always let them decide what level of care they will accept. The American Cancer society has great tips on what you can do to help.
4. Give Them Gifts
There are several small things that can be appreciated by cancer patients as they undergo treatment, but the most important factor is your compassion. Just because they cannot play golf right now doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love a new golf polo to wear. Ginger candies can help ease nausea caused by chemotherapy. Heating Pads can soothe aching muscles and joints. Wooly socks and silly pajamas can give them a reason to smile on a hard day. Incorporate your friend’s tastes when purchasing a gift and always insist that no thanks are needed.