For cancer patients and caregivers, the support of friends and loved ones can make a big difference. But when you live in another city or state, this can be hard.
There are still ways you can help a cancer patient, though. We asked cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in our Facebook community to share their advice for helping loved ones with cancer from afar. Here's what they said.
- Stay up to date on your friend or loved one's treatment. Learn as much as you can so you can understand what he or she may be going though. If your friend is sharing updates through social media or on a website like CarePages, make sure you're following them. That way, you can respond when your friend or loved one needs it most.
- Send a text message. Sending a short, simple message will let your friend know you care. Try to do this on days when he or she has treatments, follow-up appointments or important scans. Your message could make a big difference during a stressful time.
- Mail or email pictures. Make your friend smile by sharing a photo of a fun time you shared. You can text or email the photos, or print and mail them so your friend can hang them in his or her hospital room.
- Send handwritten letters, cards or a care package. A personal note or card is a great way to let a friend know you care. Or make your friend's life a little easier by sending a care package. Include magazines, restaurant gift cards, hats, blankets or any other gifts your friend might appreciate.
- Ask a volunteer to deliver a message using the MD Anderson website. Use MD Anderson's website to write a message and have it delivered to the patient's room by one of our caring volunteers.
- Web chat and watch a television show or movie you both enjoy. Most cancer patients don't want to talk about cancer all the time. Find ways to remind your friend about life outside cancer. If you always watch a TV show together, set up a time to webchat or videochat and watch the show together. It could help take your friend's mind off cancer and bring you closer together.
What else would you add to this list? Share your advice on our Facebook page.