I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.
I'm sorry you have to go through this.
I'm here if you would like to talk about it. (Listen without always feeling that you have to respond. Don't feel like you need to fill empty space with conversation.)
I know you have chemotherapy (other treatment) today and just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you.
Can I come and be you during your treatment?
I am here to help you with whatever you need during your treatment.
I can prepare some meals ahead of time and will help with household chores during your treatments. Let's go ahead and put a schedule together.
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? And/or a chore calendar?
Do you need rides to and from treatment? Can I help put together a schedule so you don't have to worry about getting to them?
Why don't you let me put together a carpool schedule for your kids so you can rest?
I'd like to stay in touch while you are going through this. Can we set up a regular time each week for me to call you/come over?
Do you need any help figuring out the insurance for your treatment?
Is there anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable?
I'm just calling/e-mailing to fill you in on the latest here at the office. (If the patient is your co-worker, keep him/her up-to-date with what’s happening at work. However, always check before doing something for your co-worker with cancer, no matter how helpful you think you are being.)
I have a friend who had this same type of cancer and she has been cancer-free for five years! (Always keep it positive.)
Words That Might Be Discouraging
I know how you feel.
Don't worry; everything will be ok.
Don't cry; it's not that bad.
You look so tired today.
Are you going to lose all of your hair?
You look like you are losing weight.
Look on the bright side; at least you are losing weight!
You seem kind of grumpy today; don't let the situation get you down.
You only have one life to live. You have to make the most of it.
Stop complaining! You are a lot better off than many other people.
Will you still be able to have sex?
I'm going to come over every single day to help you out. (Don't make unrealistic promises.)
This is just God's will; everything happens for a reason.
Are you sure that's the best treatment option? I've heard it doesn't work. (Respect their decisions about how their cancer will be treated, even if you disagree.)
I didn't tell you about the meeting because I didn't want to bother you. (Don't exclude the person from work activities based on their illness. If you have concerns, ask them if they would like to be included.)
I know someone who had that kind of cancer but she died.
I haven't come by or called because I didn't want to bother you.
I know someone who had that surgery and developed a really bad infection. Are you sure it's safe?
Now that you are done with treatment, are you cured?
See Personalized Encouragement Recommendations for Someone You Care About