The Importance of a Family Support System for Breast Cancer Patients
A breast cancer diagnosis is difficult for the patient and her entire family. While it is an emotional time for everyone, the support of family and loved ones is crucial to cancer patients throughout diagnosis and treatment. It may be difficult to know the right words to say or things to do, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re providing the support your loved one needs.
Many family members struggle with the loss of control they feel, just like the patient does. As time goes on and you begin to learn the needs of the cancer patient in your family, the routines you perform on a daily basis will begin to change. It is important to be flexible, allowing change to occur without stressing about things that would have normally been taken care of otherwise. Try to find a balance between your life and the life of your loved one.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your family member what she needs and what you can do for her. Being there for emotional moments might be difficult, but it is a powerful way to provide support for your loved one. Ask her to help you understand what she is going through mentally and emotionally, and be strong for her in her times of weakness. Encourage her and be a constant reminder of the life that is ahead of her when she gets through the often painful period of treatment.
Even children can be involved in providing support. Make sure they understand the basics of what is going on and show them ways they can help their mom when she needs it, whether it is getting her a glass of water, bringing her meals, or simply curling up to watch a movie when she is feeling tired.
If your loved one is struggling with her diagnosis, treatment, or life after treatment, speaking with other cancer patients and survivors can provide her with the connections she may be looking for. Baptist Women’s Health Center holds the Women Helping Other Women Breast Cancer Support Group on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm.