5 ways to cope with a family member’s cancer diagnosis

woman sitting and reflecting

If you have a family member or loved one who has recently received a cancer diagnosis, you know that suddenly everything has changed.

All the plans or time you thought you had suddenly becomes finite, and you want to do everything you can to help that person and be there for them in this difficult time.

Also, as difficult as it is for them and what they are going through, you’ve also found yourself going through a lot of difficult emotions and not knowing what to do or how to react.

Here are five ways to cope with your family member’s or loved one’s cancer diagnosis, to hopefully help you be ok as you support them through a life-altering ordeal.

Be by their side

As obvious as this tip may seem it is important for both you and the person that you love to spend the time you have left together.

Some may be afraid to spend time with their family member who has cancer because they are afraid that they won’t be able to keep it together emotionally around them or it might be difficult to see them sick, and while those things may be true your family member understands you are human and they most likely will understand both of these things.

The important part is despite feeling this way that you decide to show up and be there for them anyway, and they will be so grateful that you did, and you will be too.

Give yourself grace

Once again, you are only human. You can only do so much, handle so much before you tire yourself out physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Make sure that when you need it you are taking breaks to eat, drink and sleep. If there are lots of things that need to be taken care of for your loved one ask help of other family members and friends.

Remember that just like your loved one with the diagnosis, you are not going through this alone and it is essential to share the load with others who are willing and wanting to help.

Talk it out

A cancer diagnosis is not easy for anyone, the person receiving the diagnosis and the people who love them.

Most of the time they need professional help to discuss the difficulties of it all, and there is a big chance that it might be beneficial to you as well.

Talk to a loved one or a professional counselor about what you are going through and to help process your grief.

Ask questions

In cases like this, most people have so many questions in their minds, both about the diagnosis of their loved one and what to do next.

It’s ok to ask questions to their doctors if permissible, and also, you can do your own research by visiting reputable websites such as

Asking questions and getting some answers can help you and your loved one cope as well as helping them come up with a plan for what type of care or treatment they want as well as making preparations for the end of their life if necessary.

Make sure to laugh

Although it may seem like there isn’t a lot to smile about, let alone laugh about, after the cancer diagnosis of a loved one, try your best to still find some way to find joy in the moments you have left with the person you care about.

Talk about their lives with them and their fondest memories, take them to a funny movie if possible or bring one to them, or read a humorous book together.

Whatever it may be, in the years to come you will be so glad to have those memories and times shared with the person you love.

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