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. The pleasure you give by visiting them will be appreciated. When words seem too little, a look or touch can say a lot. How to Be a Friend to Someone With Cancer gives you tips on things you can do to show you care.

If you find it hard not to cry, it’s all right. Explain how much you care and how upset you are that they’re going through such a hard time. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings, but make your friend doesn’t have to comfort you. That’s often too much for a patient to manage. You may need to make the visit short if you have trouble controlling your tears.

Try to remember that this is the same person you have always known. This will help you relate to the person in the same way you have in the past.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: October 1, 2016

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