Want to help a friend or loved one dealing with cancer? It can be hard to know exactly what you can or should do.
That's why we asked the cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in our Facebook community to tell us the most helpful thing you can do for a friend or loved one dealing with cancer. Here's their advice.
1. Visit. Cancer patients and caregivers are still people, and they want to see you, talk to you and laugh with you.
2. Listen. Ask questions to show you care, but let your friend or loved one lead the conversation.
4. Find a way to help and just do it. Don't ask if there's anything you can do. Chances are your friend will just say thank you and won't ask you to help. Many of our Facebook fans suggested just doing something for friends with cancer instead of asking what they need.
5. Tell a joke.
6. Send a Facebook message, text message, email or card. Or, better yet, pick up the phone. Anything to show you're thinking of your friend.
7. Help with the laundry or cleaning.
8. Take a meal to the family. It's great if it's a home-cooked meal, but picking up food at a favorite restaurant will be equally appreciated. Just be sure you find out if there are any foods the patient needs to avoid or has developed an aversion to during cancer treatment.
9. Volunteer to look after the children or pets.
10. Give them a ride to their appointments. If you can't give them a ride, give them a gas gift card.
11. Give hugs.
12. Maintain some normalcy. Remember, people with cancer aren't just cancer patients, and they don't want to be treated differently.
13. Stay positive.
14. Give them a roll of quarters for the hospital vending machines, or give them a bag of their favorite snacks. Some patients have entire days of appointments, and a snack break helps.
15. Help take their minds off cancer, even if just for a little bit.
16. Help fundraise.
17. Bring them a blanket or hat. Hospitals and waiting rooms can get cold, so it's always nice to have something to help stay a little warmer.
18. Give their caregivers a break. Take them a gift. Take them out to lunch. Take over for the day. Remember, caregivers are deeply affected by cancer, too.
19. Just be there. Make sure your friends know you're there for them and show that you still care throughout their cancer journey. And remember, even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference to cancer patients and caregivers.