How do I comfort a friend who has just received a terminal cancer diagnosis?

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  1. Kim Bryan profile image94
    Kim Bryanposted 6 years ago

    How do I comfort a friend who has just received a terminal cancer diagnosis?

  2. Tusitala Tom profile image63
    Tusitala Tomposted 6 years ago

    You'd have to be very tactful about this, but there are huge numbers of people who have 'recovered' from a so-called 'terminal' diagnosis.   Greg Anderson writes in one of his books that he was diagnosed with cancer and told he had only about three months left to live.  He as still very much alive and healthy twelve years later.

    Louise L Hay was also diagnosed with cancer.  That was years ago.  Last Youtube I saw her on she was over eighty and still going strong.

    I once attended a medical-type conference where the main speaker was a woman who said she'd been told she had six months to live...six years before she appeared on stage as one of the conference's main speakers.

    As I recall it, Greg Anderson started an organization called Cancer Conquerors.   Maybe it's still going.   Be worth looking up their website.  I assume they have one, BEFORE, speaking to your friend again.

    1. Nicole Young 07 profile image61
      Nicole Young 07posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I searched for the Cancer Conqueror website, and I was able to come across Greg's website ( Also, I came across another website, which is quite unique (cancertalk.letsfcancer) that offers a time for you to have the "cancer talk"

  3. tamarawilhite profile image87
    tamarawilhiteposted 6 years ago

    Offer to reduce the burden of things, like cleaning the house or cooking meals so they can spend more time and energy with family to create memories.

  4. Besarien profile image76
    Besarienposted 6 years ago

    When my mom got cancer, we told her that we all had cancer and were all going to get through it together with her. I think she appreciated not feeling alone and not getting written off as dead already.

    Some of her friends were literally never seen again. They might have told themselves they would be in the way or that she needed to be with her family. She felt betrayed and like a pariah. She believed them to be fair-weather friends and had trouble remembering the good times..

    Real friends are there in good times and in bad. Let her know you are her friend forever.Tell her she can count on you for anything she needs whether that is a kick in the butt or a shoulder to cry on. Try to see her as much as you can. Bring her gossip, photos, magazines, knock-knock jokes, and chicken soup.

    Doctors are practicing medicine because one day they hope to get good at it. I believe God is the only one who knows whether or not your friend is terminal with cancer. Maybe He hasn't made up his mind yet either. Don't let her give up. It isn't over until it is over.

    In the meantime, take good care of yourself. Enjoy her for however long she's here. Don't have any regrets. Wishing you and your friend all the best. I hope you grow old together. You both are in my prayers.

  5. lisavollrath profile image91
    lisavollrathposted 6 years ago

    When I was diagnosed with cancer, the things the helped me most were offers of help with everyday things. Some friends brought food while I was being treated, or sent gift certificates to places where I could order things online, to be delivered. One friend came over and spent a few hours weeding my front garden, and offered to do my laundry. One friend volunteered to drive me to my doctor appointments, and visit me every day while I was in the hospital, to see if I needed anything. One emailed to tell me that if anything happened to me, she would come and get my dog, and take care of him for the rest of his life.

    I also had friends who said that if I needed anything, I could call them. That's not as helpful as it sounds. Being sick makes you feel very vulnerable, and it's hard to ask for help. The best help I had was from people who listened when I talked, and read when I posted online, and raised their hands to say that they could help with whatever was a hassle that day.

    There are so many things that you have to deal with, and take care of, when you have a devastating illness. Not having to deal with some of them made my life easier. So, think of what you can do for this friend to ease his or her burden, and do it, or arrange it, or organize it.

  6. Nicole Young 07 profile image61
    Nicole Young 07posted 6 years ago

    Once you are diagnosed with the dreaded C disease, there are lots of things that you need to deal with, including the chronic pain associated with the illness. If you have a friend or loved ones that is stricken with cancer, it would be heartbreaking to see them struggle and battle the disease, however, we have to help them just so they will feel that there is someone who cares for them despite having the illness. The help of family and friends is essential to the overall care of a cancer patient. We must understand that each individual is unique, therefore, their bodies react differently to the disease and the treatment, and when you are diagnosed with cancer, your sense of control is usually affected and disrupted so it is important that we offer physical, mental, psychological and emotional support to them. Spending more time with them will greatly help them overcome sadness and depression. I personally believe that telling them about amazing cancer survivor stories will greatly inspire them, just like the story of Sharon and Charles ( who have terminal cancer but are now cancer free to this day, so they will not lose hope and continue to live their lives even when diagnosed with terminal cancer.

  7. dashingscorpio profile image85
    dashingscorpioposted 6 years ago

    I believe it really all comes down to the personality of your friend.
    Their beliefs/outlook about death/afterlife might also come into play.
    Not everyone who gets a terminal diagnosis spirals into a deep depression. One of my aunts spent her remaining months organizing her funeral and reception right down to the music selection & caterer.
    I've known other people who had a couple of "bucket list" items they wanted to experience before making their transition.
    Oftentimes we imagine what (we) would want to do if we knew we only had a certain amount of time to live. For a lot of folks it may be going on a vacation or do some special activity. Eat whatever..
    For others it may be they want to make peace with any friends or family members they drifted apart from.
    Some people with young children have been known to record some life's lessons for them to view or listen to when they got older.
    Just find out how your friend wants to celebrate their remaining time.
    Ideally the goal should be to {make the most} out of every breath.
    Once again it all comes down to their outlook and personality.

    1. Tusitala Tom profile image63
      Tusitala Tomposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      A beautifully written and most insightful answer.   And as it has been said to me, "It is not what you achieve in life, it is what you become as a human being.


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