How to Support Friends with Cancer

This is a sponsored post. Photos provided by Jaime Jenkins.

having a friends with cancer can not only feel terrible, it can also leave a friend feeling helpless and emotional – not to mention awkward. many times it’s hard to know what things to say, how to help, and how to act. having dealt first hand with having friends being diagnosed and/or dealing with cancer, i have definitely felt all these emotions. i struggle with how to best support them and also how to cope with my own emotions. that is why i partnered with Dr. Luis Sandoval of Kaiser Permanente Orange County to give you some helpful information on How to Support Friends with Cancer.

Dr. Luis Sandoval works in Psychiatry, at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Ana Medical Offices. he works with many cancer patients, and also patients that have experienced loved ones with cancer. he pointed out that there is no one way to support friends with cancer, as each person has different needs. the main issue that he sees, is a lot of times, friends of cancer patients tend to do things that help themselves and make themselves feel better, over what might be best for the patient. meaning that instead of listening to the friend with cancers true wants, we pick what help ourself feel better.

this is where we have to be careful and ask ourselves, what is really happening here. are we doing this because we are feeling sad? or is it really helping our friend. a cancer diagnosis can be really emotional not only on the person who has cancer, but also on the friends of that person. so, it is important for us to take care of our emotional needs as well, so that we can be a better friend.

Dr. Sandoval also mentioned that cancer patients don’t like to be constantly reminded that they are sick. you don’t have to treat them differently than before. of course they will probably need more support and help than they did before, but you don’t need to act differently, or hide your own problems and feelings, or do things for them that they can do for themselves. people don’t like feeling helpless or useless.

to further my knowledge on How to Support Friends with Cancer, i enlisted the help of one of my good friends Jaime Jenkins. she has been battling stage 4 breast cancer since 2014, and is also a patient at Kaiser Permanente Orange County. she has had a wonderful experience at Kaiser and loves all of her doctors. i knew that she could give me some great tips and advice on this subject. if you haven’t met Jaime, she is an extremely positive and uplifting person, even in the face of such a devastating disease. she is loved by everyone in the community and is a light among us.

Jaime mentioned that since her diagnosis, many many people have offered help, love and support. she appreciates everything so much. one thing that she did stress is how lonely cancer can leave you. there are many times where you are just too sick to have people around, or times where you are stuck inside and have to miss fun activities and events with your friends and family. it’s really nice when people drop off a gift or a meal, but it’s the continued stream of support that is really needed. it can just be a simple text checking in on her, or a quick visit that means so much.

Jaime also mentioned that she doesn’t want her friends to think they can’t come to her with their own problems. which coincides with Dr. Sandoval’s point that cancer patients don’t want to be treated differently. Jaime doesn’t want a friend to not share with her their own problems just because she is dealing with cancer. she often hears people tell her that they don’t want to mention a problem in their life because they know that she is dealing with something much worse. Jaime wanted to let everyone know that she does want to hear about their lives and problems so that she too can support them in anyway she can. she might not be able to physically help them, but she can definitely be a listening ear, offer advice or encouragement, and be their biggest cheerleader. it’s not fun to feel helpless and a burden on others.

no matter how you put it, cancer is a hard thing. there is no one way to support friends with cancer, but hopefully with a few of these thoughts, you find ways to support your friend and also help yourself. by keeping things positive and healthy, all those involved can focus more on positive light and healing.

you may not have thought about Kaiser Permanente Orange County as a hospital system that treats cancers, but they first they focus on healthy living and early detection, to reduce your risk of cancer and help you live your best life. Kaiser Permanente offers smoking cessation classes and medications, nutritional counseling, weight management programs and other health education opportunities to help members thrive. you can also read about ways to reduce your cancer risk on their website.

and if you do develop a cancer, Kaiser Permanente physicians will employ the latest treatment options to combat the disease as quickly as possible. they make sure patients receive the safest and most effective chemotherapy, cancer care using an electronic health record that provides dosage and treatment protocols. the system is constantly updated with recommendations from cancer experts from throughout the organization as well as results from the latest clinical trials.

cancer support is just one of the many services that Kaiser Permanente Orange County provides to our community. i have really loved working with them this past year because i have learned a lot of great healthy living information that i’ve been able to use daily.

if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys
Sun Safety in Orange County
Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress
Choosing the Right Birth Control for You

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