My Friend Has Cancer?!

A six-part series about how young adults can better support their friends who are going through cancer.

My Friend has Cancer?! - Part 2

"What Do I Say?"

The My Friend Has Cancer?! videos offer strategies for friendship during cancer, with specific examples from survivors’ and friends’ real stories. In addition to cancer, your friend may be worried about specific and sensitive issues such as body image, social media, dating, sex, fertility, school and work, missing out, finances, and fear of recurrence or dying. There is no doubt that in many ways life will be different after diagnosis and treatment than before. Bottom line: Let your friend with cancer bring up the sensitive topics—directly or indirectly. Listen with an honest and open frame of mind. Share in your friend’s joy, and be with them in their fear. (Don’t try to solve it.) If you don’t know what to say, embrace the silence.

Keep in mind that cancer is an individual experience. Everyone’s different, and no one size fits all. Bottom line: Follow the lead of your friend with cancer. Listen openly, and don’t be afraid to apologize if you think you’ve screwed up. Even if things get tough, awkward, or boring, be there for your friend. Not just in the beginning—your friend with cancer needs your support throughout treatment and beyond.