How can I help people with cancer

5 tips for relatives of people with cancer on World Cancer Day


If someone in the family gets cancer, it doesn't just affect the patient. Relatives also need support and a strategy. “The relatives in particular are not aware of this. You believe that you have to shoulder all burdens undemanding and thereby lose the awareness of your own needs, ”says Prof. Petra Feyer, chairwoman of the Berlin Cancer Society. “In this way, a life situation arises for many relatives that they will sooner or later feel overwhelmed,” says Feyer. So that it doesn't get that far, the Berliner Krebsgesellschaft e.V. gives relatives the following tips on how to deal with the sick person and the situation:

1. Get help: Open yourself up to a good friend or an experienced psycho-oncologist.

Are you afraid of the illness of your loved one and you have the feeling that your life is slipping away from you? Have the courage to speak out what moves you. Find someone you can talk to openly about your feelings. This can be a person from your circle of friends or a psycho-oncologically trained counselor. The 16 regional cancer societies with their 128 psychosocial cancer counseling centers nationwide offer free advice and support. Make an appointment with a phone call.

2. Ask the sick person about their wishes and thereby relieve yourself.

Many cancer patients already feel determined by the therapy. Then a well-intentioned advice - according to the motto “Don't do this ... do that ..." is quickly misunderstood as paternalism. In spite of everything, those affected want to be treated “normally”. Therefore ask the sick person what he would like to do in everyday life or where he needs help. And when you address sensitive topics, formulate your wishes in I-messages (I feel ..., I wish ..., I ask myself ... etc.), in this way you prevent misunderstandings.

3. Take your own feelings and needs seriously.

Of course, you are concerned about the well-being of your sick family member. But don't lose sight of your own needs during this time. Ask yourself: how am I doing? I would like to? What is good for me? And when you have found an answer to that, allow yourself to do what brings you joy and relaxation without a guilty conscience.

4. Make good use of your time together.

Time has become a precious commodity. Therefore, every hour you can spend with your loved one is precious. Think about how you will spend your time together and whether you could add a little more joy. Seeing the good in the here and now gives depth and connectedness to your life and that of your partner. Even later, no one can take that away from you.

5. Clarify pressing financial issues.

When cancer patients can no longer work full-time, they are often dependent on financial support. If the livelihood of the whole family is at risk, you as a relative should clarify how things will continue economically. Cancer counseling centers such as the Berlin Cancer Society also support you in financial and social issues.


Source: Press release from the Berlin Cancer Society on World Cancer Day 2017


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Last accessed on: May 19, 2021 4:01 pm