Whether it's a family member or friend, watching a loved one battle breast cancer can make you feel frustrated and helpless. But you can do a lot to ease her struggles and improve the quality of her life.
- Lend an ear. Be there when she wants to talk or vent. Offer support and encouragement, and listen for clues about what else you could do to ease her burden.
- Help with medical appointments. She may be relieved to have someone drive her to the hospital, take notes during visits with the doctor, or fill her prescriptions while she rests.
- Give her a break. Prepare a meal, do a load of laundry, give her a gift certificate for a cleaning service, take care of her kids so she can nap...there are so many ways to pitch in. Making a specific offer, rather than simply asking how you can help, will make it easier for her to accept.
- Keep things normal. As much as possible, enjoy your regular routine with your loved one. Cancer treatments can be disruptive—let her enjoy the comfort and normalcy of your friendship.
Remember! Whether or not you've had breast cancer: Be sure to get a mammogram every year. You should continue to examine your breasts, including a reconstructed one, and be alert to body changes that might signal a recurrence of cancer. These can include a lump in the breast or nipple discharge.