It can be gut-wrenching to hear from a loved one that they have been diagnosed with throat cancer. You probably want to offer assistance in any way possible, but it can be difficult to understand how you can be there for them without stepping on their toes. No matter what stage they are at, living with cancer is scary, and it is an unnerving time for them. Here are a few ways you can help your loved one as they cope with their diagnosis.
1. Learn More About the Diagnosis
The more you know about their particular diagnosis, the more you will understand what they’re going through. After being bombarded with a lot of information about their diagnosis from their doctor, your loved one may not want to speak about themselves and how they are coping with everything. They may not even let you know about their treatment plan. Taking it upon yourself to learn about their type of cancer will mean that you have insight into what they’re going through without them having to relay the information to you.
On the other hand, if your loved one has recently received a diagnosis and is unsure about what to do next, you can help them in their search for quality healthcare. Ideally, you’ll need to ensure your loved one sees a team of specialty health professionals who have the knowledge and expertise to help people with throat cancer. They can ensure your loved one receives the best treatment for their particular diagnosis. Plus, by educating yourself about the diagnosis, you’re in a better position to look out for your loved one if they happen to get recurring throat cancer by helping them watch out for the symptoms (the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL explains the signs of throat cancer).
2. Lend a Listening Ear
Once your loved one is ready to open up, the best thing you can do for them is simply listen. Be an active listener and focus on what they are saying to you. Although your loved one may appreciate your thoughts on the matter, try to refrain from sharing any strong opinions you have unless you know they want to hear them. At this moment in their life, they are probably feeling a little out of control. At the very least, you can let them control and steer the conversations you share. Moreover, patients who have just undergone treatment may find it physically uncomfortable to speak. Let them lead the conversation, and don’t push them to talk.
3. Sustain Them with Nutritious Food
Getting treated for cancer can take a lot out of a person. One of the ways you can make their life easier is to help them with certain chores, like grocery shopping for nutritious food or making them home-cooked meals. Cancer treatments can change a person’s taste and smell, and it can give them a dry mouth. Therefore, it is a good idea to confirm the type of food they want to eat, as their tastes may have changed. Additionally, keeping them stocked up with food items like popsicles and soups can help them cope with dry mouth.
4. Make Fun Plans Together
Facing and battling cancer is a daunting process, and the thought of it can be all-consuming. Making plans with your loved one can lift the spirit and give them things to look forward to. Doing fun things together can help keep their mind off the long journey of recovery ahead of them.