How to Be There for Someone Who Has Survived Cancer

Cancer is a hard disease to deal with from every possible angle, as not only does it devastate the body and the mind simultaneously, but even the treatment itself takes so much toll on the patient. Then of course, there’s the financial burden of cancer treatment, which is estimated to be above $150,000 on an average, without a guaranteed cure.

Therefore, although the fact that someone close to you has survived cancer is a cause for joy, it’s also important not to forget that they still need your support. Today, we are going to concentrate exclusively on steps to support patients who have already survived cancer, but are still dealing with the emotional, physical and financial aftermath.

Don’t be Generic

Everyone has a personality, and although cancer, cancer treatment, and everything else associated with the whole unfortunate event can have severe impacts on their behavior, they are in most cases, still the same person. Excepting cancer survivors who have suffered severe brain trauma due to the effect of the disease itself, or as a result of surgery, there is no reason to think that surviving cancer automatically robs a patient off their individuality. No universal post cancer personality exists, which is important to understand and recognize if you truly want to be there for the person.

The same things that used to cheer them up earlier will most likely work now too, especially since they have likely been away from a lot of things they loved for a long time. People can sense when you are not sincere, so be sincere and treat them in the way that you know they would like to be treated, but with just that bit of extra sensitivity about it. Give them space when they need it, but don’t leave them alone for long periods of time. 

Make It an Occasion for Celebration

The person just survived cancer, a disease that kills more people in the United States than any other disease, except heart disease. That most certainly qualifies to be a cause for celebration. The celebrations are important because post-survival depression is not uncommon.

More than the celebrations themselves, the idea here is to invoke a positive vibe and make the person realize that their continued presence in the lives of others is well appreciated. As far as the celebrations are concerned, refer to the point above and celebrate in a way that doesn’t affect their post treatment care.

Help them Plan for the Future

Now, great as beating cancer is, the disease does have a nasty habit of relapsing, and depending on the kind of cancer he/she had, the chances of recurrence can be simply too high to ignore. Help them financially plan for such an event, ahead of time and soon after recovery. It’s true that getting approved for health insurance can be quite difficult for someone who has already had cancer, but cancer survivors do have options to buy insurance, even with a history of cancer.

Nobody likes to think about a relapse right after remission and recovery, but it’s an essential step nonetheless. In case the person in question is directly under your care, you should be the one to take all steps necessary for facing a relapse, if it comes to that.

Supporting someone who is suffering from cancer and someone who has already overcome cancer are two entirely different scenarios which require totally different approaches. Hopefully, these few pointers will give you at least some idea regarding how you can approach the latter situation with more tact.

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