How To Help Your Friend Who Has Cancer

May 15, 2022

When a friend or loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you may wonder what is the best way to offer emotional support. At CanCare, our job is to help anyone directly or indirectly affected by cancer to feel supported and hopeful during this time. Our list of ways to help your friend or loved one who is facing cancer is a great place to start.

1. Positivity

Positivity is key when helping your friend cope with cancer treatment. Remaining positive and encouraging your friend to do the same throughout treatment will remind them that there is hope for a better life just around the corner. Individuals who have/had cancer need that positive reassurance that life goes on as normal after treatment!

2. Listening

Make sure to have not only an open mind but also open ears and heart. Listening is another big way to support a friend battling cancer. Individuals who have or had cancer may need to talk about what is happening and express honest feelings. Staying in touch and just being there to listen can really help and show your friend how much you truly care.

3. Tears are OK!

Your friend or loved one may also need to cry with you & that’s okay. While many try to hold back tears in an attempt to remain strong, your friend may want to share that genuine emotion with you. Cancer can be scary, so it’s okay to cry!

4. Remember, Cancer Affects Caregivers  

It can be easy to focus your attention solely on your friend dealing with cancer, but you should remember that cancer does have an effect on those surrounding a cancer patient too. You could offer to relieve them of their caregiver duties for the night or take the children out for a distraction! Hope, kindness, and compassion should also be shown to caregivers and all those surrounding someone with cancer. Caregivers need emotional support too.

5. Love & Support Are Needed

There is no doubt that love and support are needed for your friend during this time. Check up on your friend often. Encourage them. Connect with them. We encourage doing things with your friend that he or she enjoys. Whether that be singing, being creative, or simply being silly together. Send them hugs, cards, notes of love and healing, even if that may be virtual.

6. Pray For Your Friend With Cancer

Another simple but effective way to help your friend with cancer is through prayer. Pray for your friend hard and often. You can even submit a Prayer Request form on our site for your friend with cancer. Remind them that God’s desire is for healthy, whole, happy people and his presence brings peace, strength, and hope!

7. Offer Specific Help

Instead of saying, “Let me know how I can help”, or “Call me if you need anything,” try offering more specific help to a friend. Try things like, “I can help with the kids Mondays and Wednesdays if you’d like,” or something along the lines of “I’d like to cook for you on Thursdays- would you like something in particular?” These more direct cues help take some ease off of a friend in the overwhelming environment that they are already in.

8. Use The Word “Cancer”

Another tip to helping a friend with Cancer is to be comfortable with the word “cancer.” While it is a scary illness, avoiding the word can make the individual feel even worse about having it. Use the word cancer, and don’t avoid it. Include your friend in plans, let them be part of the decision making and let them decide for themselves what they can and can’t do.

9. Make Phone Calls & Visits Short and Upbeat

Remember to stay in touch with your friend with cancer and call or visit them often with a purpose and good attitude. Those with cancer can feel lonely at times. Staying away from or avoidance can send a bad message, but short purposeful visits can show your friend your love and consideration for them. Just make sure to call before you visit!

10. Get Permission from Your Friend to Call CanCare

Last but definitely not least, you can help your friend or loved one battling cancer by receiving their permission to contact CanCare. CanCare uses diagnosis matching to allow those dealing with cancer to have a friend readily available to talk and share similar experiences. CanCare’s amazing network of cancer survivor volunteers is carefully trained to be able to adequately provide them with additional support during their cancer treatment. This additional support includes things like:

  • One on One Cancer Survivor Support
  • Virtual Support Groups
  • And More!

The support of friends and loved ones for those facing cancer is crucial. Your friend or loved one may be overwhelmed with information and not know what additional types of support they need. Because CanCare volunteers are cancer survivors, they can provide a unique perspective and complement other sources of cancer support.

How CanCare Helps Those With Cancer:

  • Matches patients and caregivers with someone who has gone through the same type or similar experience
  • Allows you to talk freely and openly about experiences and concerns
  • Is available to patients with any type or stage of cancer
  • Matches your loved ones with our experienced volunteers
  • Helps you find hope after a cancer diagnosis
  • It’s free and confidential

We hope this will help guide you as you support your friend or loved one with cancer. CanCare is here to support families facing cancer. We welcome you to reach out if you have questions or need support.

Learn more about how CanCare supports cancer patients and caregivers by providing a survivor by your side. Request Support from a fellow cancer caregiver or Submit a Prayer Request today!We also hold monthly support groups for cancer caregivers. If you would like to join us, email us at