{I had two friends pass away this month from breast cancer… this is dedicated to Pat Rourke and Elana Chambliss}

Breast Cancer Awareness:  Helping Someone You Love

When you think of October, many scary things may come to mind.  But other than the ghosts and monsters typically associated with these 31 autumn days comes the month of Breast Cancer Awareness…bringing with it some more realistic things to be frightened over.  This year, it is estimated that over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.  And this year almost 40,000 women will die from breast cancer.  For those in the United States, 1 in 8 will develop breast cancer at some point throughout the course of her lifetime.

With the number of women falling victim to this devastating disease, there is a good chance that you or someone you love has been affected by it in some way.  If you have a friend who has been diagnosed and is fighting the battle, this is a time when she needs you more than ever.   Here are some ways in which you can show your love and support…not only in October, but during every month of the year:

Be a shoulder to lean on.  When your friend tells you she’s sick, it can be hard to find the right words to say.  But when you offer your support and ask her how you can help, your actions will say it all.  Little things like sending her encouraging cards, calling her to just say hi, and being there to listen will mean the world.

Help her make treatment decisions.  Whenever someone receives the news that they have breast cancer, it can be shocking and overwhelming to process when trying to figure out where to turn.  Lend a hand in assisting her research her diagnosis, options and what the future holds.  Check out clinics and hospitals in your area and compile a list of the best doctors and other resources.  Find your friend support groups to join and plan to attend the meetings with her.  Help her create a list of any fears and concerns about what comes next and be there for her—no matter what course of action she decides to take.

Help around her home.  Even simple chores around the house can be things that are very trying for breast cancer patients.  Offer your help with things like cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, or running errands—anything to assist with day-to-day tasks with which your friend might be struggling.

Pamper her in the hospital.  If your friend is in the hospital or going through chemotherapy sessions, offer to go with her.  Bring her things from home like a soft blanket, her favorite sleep shirt, slippers, and anything else that will make the process a little less uncomfortable.

Don’t label her as a sick person.  Most women are so consumed with visits to this doctor, that doctor, medical procedures, and are finding it hard to complete basic everyday tasks due to the extreme fatigue that has seemed to take over their lives.  Facing the struggles that come with a breast cancer diagnosis can really wear on someone and all they crave is to just get back to normal and not be viewed as a cancer patient.  As a friend, you can help her get back to a normal place by focusing her on the happy parts of life that she enjoys.

Contribute to the cause. What better way to show your support and stand up in the fight against breast cancer than by being an active fighter.  There are many ways in which you can contribute:  donate your time or money, participate in an event like Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, start your own fundraiser in your community, or become an advocate.

Amy Reynolds is a guest post author who brings to us her ideas on helping others for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and also writes on topics revolving around online dating for Free Senior Dating Sites. 

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