- How do you talk to someone who has cancer?
- About cancer
- Hearing the news
- Ways of coping
- Living with cancer
- Sources of support
- Concern for the family and caregivers
- Help and information
- If your loved one decides to stop getting treatment
- If your loved one refuses cancer treatment
- Facing the final stage of life
- Summing up: Talking to the person with cancer
- To learn more
Some people may have a hard time visiting people with cancer, especially those who look and feel very sick. When someone is sick and looks very different, it can be shocking and upsetting. Sometimes just seeing a lot of medical equipment around someone you care about can be disturbing.
Remember that this is the same person you’ve always known. Try to relate to them in the same way you have in the past. Doing so will help both of you think about what’s going on inside, not on the outside. The pleasure you give by visiting them will be appreciated. When words seem too little, a look or touch can say a lot.
If you find it hard to not cry, it’s all right. Explain how much you care and how upset you are that they are going through such a hard time. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings, but make sure the person with cancer doesn’t have to comfort you. That’s often too much for a patient to manage at this stage. You may need to make the visit short if you have trouble controlling your tears.
Last Medical Review: 01/10/2013
Last Revised: 02/20/2014