Fighting Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy, Radiation, Angiosarcoma, DCIS, Mammogram, Mastectomy, Wear Pink, Support System

In This Guide:

A breast cancer diagnosis is scary and can leave patients feeling numb or paralyzed with fear. Having to reconcile the impact the diagnosis will have while trying to understand and decide upon treatment options can be utterly overwhelming. It's important for friends and loved ones to be supportive while patients are navigating this difficult road, but it isn't always easy to know what to do or say. EncourageX can help you provide support that is personal, authentic, and consistent, so you can be there for the person in your life who is living with breast cancer. 


They Might Be Thinking:

  • I am scared of what I don't know about my illness.
  • Why did I get breast cancer?
  • What stage of cancer am I in? 
  • Am I going to die?
  • How long do I have to live?
  • What types of treatment are available? Which ones would be best for me?
  • How will I fit the treatments into my schedule?
  • What kind of surgery will I need? Will I need to have all of my breast removed (lumpectomy, mastectomy, lymph node dissection)?
  • Will I feel like less of a woman if I opt to have my breast or breasts removed?
  • Should I have breast reconstruction surgery?
  • How does chemotherapy work? Who should get it? What are the potential side effects?
  • How does radiation work? What are the advantages? What are the side effects? What should I expect when I get it?
  • Am I a candidate for hormone therapy or other forms of treatment?
  • Will I lose my hair if I do chemotherapy? 
  • Will I be able to continue to work during treatment?
  • Will I have the strength and energy to be a good wife/mother/daughter during treatment?
  • Is my form of breast cancer genetic? Will my daughters get it?
  • What will my friends and family think?
  • I don't want people to feel sorry for me.
  • I'm going to be spending all of my time in and out of hospitals and treatment centers.
  • Have any of my friends or colleagues been through this journey? I'd like to visit with someone that has had a similar experience. 

Words That Might Be Encouraging:

  • Would you like to tell me about your diagnosis and how you are feeling? It's okay if you don't want to talk right now, but know that I'm here for you whenever you do. 
  • I came up with this list of activities that we can do together. I'm looking forward to trying something new with you!
  • Your final appointment is next week. I've marked the date on my calendar and am looking forward to celebrating you beating cancer! 
  • I care for you and am here for you, whenever and for whatever you need.
  • You are such an inspiration. I admire your strength and bravery throughout this entire journey. You amaze me. 
  • Let's make it a point to catch up every week or two. We should treat ourseleves to routine pedicures or massages. 
  • I notice you have an appointment coming up on the "insert date." Would you like me to go with you? We can go get lunch afterwards.
  • If I can help you with my network of contacts in the medical field, I am happy to do that.
  • Do you have access to good informational tools and resources? I would like to learn more about what you are learning if that's okay.
  • I'm available to help you do some research if you feel that you need some more information before you make a decision regarding your treatment plan. 
  • Let's set up a regular time for me to come over or for us to catch up on the phone. 
  • Many of us would like to help. Can I put together a meal calendar so your friends can coordinate when they can deliver meals to your home? 
  • Why don't you let me put together a carpool schedule for your kids so you can rest?
  • I have a friend that had breast cancer. She is a wealth of knowledge if you want me to connect the two of you.
  • Tell me about your treatment plan and whether I can accompany you to any of your appointments.
  • The prospect of mastectomy must be daunting. Would you like to talk about it?
  • Would you like to talk about your hair loss? That must be very difficult to contend with. 
  • I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor and has been cancer-free for ten years. You can beat this! (Always be positive.)

Words That Might Be Discouraging:

  • Don't worry about work. We will handle everything while you are going through this.
  • Have you prayed about this?
  • Aren't you scared?
  • Have you talked to the children yet? How did they take it?
  • Do you have your affairs in order?
  • Do you know how much the treatments will cost?
  • Has the doctor given you a prognosis?
  • How long have they given you?
  • What are your odds?
  • Why do you think you got breast cancer? Did you take birth control pills?
  • What is the best hospital for your treatment?
  • I've heard the treatments are awful. Do you feel sick all of the time?
  • I think you should make fighting cancer your full-time job.
  • I would be happy to be a foster parent to your kids. They are so sweet.
  • It's just hair; you can wear a wig.
  • A mastectomy isn't that big of a deal. 
  • At least you will get a free boob job out of it?
  • That's terrible; my aunt died of breast cancer!
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