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Supporting someone with advanced cancer


I received an email from a colleague asking how to be a good friend to someone with advanced cancer. Actually my colleague used the words "terminal cancer". Other colleagues tell me they favor the words advanced cancer. I sent the request for advice out to our Advanced Breast Cancer task force at UCSF, and thought I would share their responses.

One research assistant conducted an internet search and found the following links:

- (An online booklet for caregivers of those with advanced cancer)

- ("Living with Cancer" blog on the NY Times, not necessarily about advanced cancer specifically, but reflections on life with cancer from a patient with ovarian cancer)

- (blog article with some concrete tips from a woman whose mother had terminal cancer)

- (thoughts from a 30 yo woman with a terminal diagnosis)

A colleague at our UCSF Cancer Resource Center wrote back:

These are some excellently crafted publications. The terminology "friend" is not used; however, the support mechanisms are the same when the word "caregiver" is used. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you are looking for something different.

From Cancer Care - excellent practical and emotional guide

From NCI for caregivers - looks at practical and emotional ways to support yourself and loved one

An excellent starting place in assessing one's emotional state from NCI for the patient. However, the friend can learn a lot and develop empathy by reading this

A researcher wrote back:

I just did a quick search and found these books: (this one was endorsed by another colleague as well)


I'll add more resources here if/when they come in.

And indeed another colleague writes to add the following websites:







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