Got DEAL?
Photo: Susan Merrell
Saturday
Feb012014

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:

- http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/when-someone-you-love-has-advanced-cancer (An online booklet for caregivers of those with advanced cancer)

- http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/category/voices-2/living-with-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)

- http://kathleenbuckstaff.com/when-someone-you-love-has-terminal-cancer/ (blog article with some concrete tips from a woman whose mother had terminal cancer)

- http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/19/terminal-cancer-how-to-live-with-dying (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 http://www.cancercare.org/publications/1-caregiving_for_your_loved_one_with_cancer

From NCI for caregivers - looks at practical and emotional ways to support yourself and loved one http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/when-someone-you-love-is-treated

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 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/takingtime

A researcher wrote back:

I just did a quick search and found these books:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Friend-Whos-Sick/dp/1610392833/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3 (this one was endorsed by another colleague as well)

http://www.amazon.com/The-Etiquette-Illness-What-Words/dp/1582343837/ref=pd_sim_b_1

http://www.amazon.com/When-Your-Friend-Gets-Cancer/dp/0877889341

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Cancer-Together-Friend-Loved/dp/0806638338/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

 

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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