How you can help someone with cancer

Just being there goes a long way. But is there more you can do?

We’ve likely all told someone going through a rough time, “I’m here if you need anything.” But what are some concrete things you can do to show your support? We asked Anne Marie Paolucci, whose runs the nonprofit Chemo Comfort, for some ideas. It turns out that there are plenty of little things you can do to make a big impact.

1. Treat them the same

“I was always happy when someone would call and have a normal conversation with me or complain about something going on in their lives — but you need to listen [in case] that someone’s not in the mood that particular day. I remember a friend calling with a problem and then saying, ‘I cant believe I’m telling you this!’ It’s like no, you’re treating me as your friend, and not your cancer patient friend, and that’s a nice thing to hear sometimes.”

2. Be honest, but sensitive
“I always appreciated someone saying to me, ‘I don’t know what to say to you,’ as opposed to, saying things [like] ‘Your hair’ll grow back, you’ll be OK.’ The hair is a big deal because it’s a symbol of so many things. You’re losing yourself and you’re becoming ‘cancer patient.’ And it’s a symbol of what’s going on inside you, it’s like this lack of control and this battle between cancer and chemo.”

3. Help out with errands
 “Stick within your forte. Like if you’re an accountant: ‘I’d be happy to come balance your checkbook.’ A huge thing is medical bills: ‘Can I spend an afternoon helping you go through that?’ If it’s somebody who’s nearby, call when you’re going to the grocery store, the drugstore or the dry cleaners: ‘Can I drop something off or pick something up for you?’ Accompany someone to a medical appointment, or give them a ride to or from.”

4. Bring some cheer

Round up some funny movies and head on over to their place. “Humor’s great,” Paolucci says. “It’s healing. It takes you out of those [dark] places.”

5. If you want to cook, ask first

“Through chemo, there’s things that just turn your stomach for no apparent reason,” she says. “I think it’s worth a conversation saying, ‘I’d like to bring you a meal, what works best for you?’ It’s probably better to stay away from spicy foods or anything that’s crusty or with edges because you have a lot of oral issues, depending on the chemo.”

 6. Be wary of sniffles

“If you are at all unwell, no matter what you said you would do for the person, you’ll do more for them if you say, ‘I think I’m getting sick, be honest if you don’t want me around.’ Because if someone’s counts are down, they don’t want to be anywhere near you. You could put them in the hospital if they end up with an infection. It’s really serious, so don’t think, ‘Oh I’ll just sniffle my way around this, it’ll be fine.’ Really be honest.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.