Helping a Friend with Cancer

March 14, 2006

As I was going through treatment for breast cancer 5 years ago, I often would do craft or art projects to keep my mind off what was happening to me. If you have a friend or family member that has recently been diagnosed with cancer, they can get a free watercolor kit by going to:


Creating Hope provides creative materials at no charge to cancer patients during their journey through treatment and healing. Materials are provided in convenient, portable Hope Kits.

The Hope Kit contains all of the materials to give a patient the opportunity to start the creative process, including easy to use self-teaching guides.. Please remember, this is for cancer patients only.

By Marnita from Cumming GA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

My friend has been diagnosed with lung cancer, metastasized from the breast. She has refused all Chemo and radiation. I know this has nothing to do with being thrifty but what do we do? She is single and used to work as a Realtor. The only family she has are her friends. There are 4 of us plus the patient. We are exhausted and she had surgery on Jan 8th. She is still in hospital. Her lungs are full of tumors. I don't know what to do and/or how to help. We are supporting her as best we can but what does that mean really?

Sandy from Baltimore


January 10, 20080 found this helpful

My mother passed away 6 weeks after being diagnosed with a similar cancer (hers was lung cancer that metastasized to her brain), and we just did whatever we could to make her as happy and comfortable as we could. If she wanted ice cream for dinner, which was her favorite food, then so be it! I bought her a half gallon of chocolate a couple days before she passed and just let her eat as much as she wanted, it sounds like nothing, but that was the last time we laughed together. Just try to treat your friend to some fun, anything she enjoys, so for even just a little while she doesn't have to think about "it". Being a friend will mean more to her in the long run than anything you can do for her. You could take her out to dinner or cook her dinner!

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January 10, 20080 found this helpful

It means that she is blessed with really good friends! My sister had a good friend in the 1960s who was diagnosed with cancer and no hope of living. Her group of friends took her out to eat and went to concerts as long as she was able. They were in close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains and the made several car trips with stops at craft shows. This same sister passed away at the end of November and I spent a night at the nursing home with her before I had to come back to Houston. No three sisters ever loved each other more or had more fun than the three of us. Our other sister was gone already but Ninny and I sat up almost all night giggling and reminiscing. It was good for both of us. When your friend becomes bedridden that is the best way to show your love.

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January 10, 20080 found this helpful

just be there for her when you can and let her take comfort in that read to her give her cards with poitive sayings etc i think thats all that matter she is so lucky to have a friend like you!!!

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January 10, 20080 found this helpful

I also suggest talking with her about everything that interests her and ditto on the food. Whatever it is she likes to do if it's to bird watch or be read to, look at photo albums together and talk about the fun times shared. It does wonders to lift the spirit.

My mother-in-law was in her 90's and suffering with frail health. Her doctor told her daughters to just take her home and enjoy her. They took turns staying with her in her home and cooked, cleaned and gave her everything she needed and then some. Her daughters were angels to their mother and she was one lucky lady to be able to stay at home and die there. Her home on the mountain was the only place she ever loved. Leaving it would have brought her down quicker.

If enough friends could arrange some type of in home care with a hospice program and then have friends pop in often to be there and help out in her care, your friend would pass with the best companionship til the end. Good luck and may God bless you all for caring so much as your strength aids in helping the weak friend complete her journey.

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By Linda (Guest Post)
January 11, 20080 found this helpful

Get in touch with a hospice program. The hospital can give you a list of them. They not only help the patient but will help the people closest to her come to terms, and deal with the nuts and bolts issues of her choice to die in peace. The best thing you, her support group and family of choice can do is to support her in this final transition in the best way you can work out. It sounds like she has made her decision and is ready to let go.

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By Jennifer (Guest Post)
January 11, 20080 found this helpful

Has she been given a time line? When she is released from the hospital, she will most likely need hospice care. Her doctor's should be able to give you all the info needed to get that sat up. They are a wonderful organization, that truly cares for their patients, and will help you give your friend the quality of care you want and need for her.

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January 11, 20080 found this helpful

have her primary care physician make a referral to hospice. hospice is a benefit that will be paid for by medicare and is extremely helpful in terms of pain management and emotional support. it is available to anyone with a life expectancy of 6 months or less.she will have a nurse case manager, and a social worker and a chaplain who work together using a team approach to help the patient and her family/friends. i've worked hospice in the past and i highly recommend won't believe how helpful it can be.

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January 11, 20080 found this helpful

sandy here just with an updatS
Thank you all for the wonderful posts. she is only 50 so There is no medicare. She is coming home with visiting nurses and they will do an evaluation. She will have oxygen and a hospital bed. She is going to our other friends house. I found us kind of fighting on the phone today. Karen wants to do exactly, as Nancy has asked, but that is really going to put some big pressure on us. I love them both, but well, I think all of the friends are angry in different ways. I am finding out that is common. Thank you all again.

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By Lisa (Guest Post)
January 11, 20080 found this helpful

Have a slumber party. Stay up late (or not so late), watch silly sappy movies. Eat favorite foods. Try new foods. Go for a drive and only turn right (or left), arbitrarily deciding how long to go before you turn. Find out where that takes you. Play games, silly, funny games like, "Would you Rather...." it can be found at Barnes and Noble that poises questions like, "Would you rather touch a snake or a skunk? Paint each other's toenails. Go have manicures and pedicures. Sit and read a book aloud to of those "Someday I am going to read that". Make a list of all the things she wants to do and do them. DON'T Approach the whole thing as "she doesn't have that much time" because none of us know how much time we have left, but, HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT? Don't fight amongst friends, discuss outside over drinks. You all want what's best.

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By Peg (Guest Post)
January 11, 20080 found this helpful

Oh Sandy,

I have quite a different response for you; and, yes, it can be considered thrifty, as well simply because treatment does not necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. First of all, please don't write your friend off. Cancer, even late-stage cancer, is not necessarily a death sentence. There is a lot of information out there, and you can do some research on alternative treatments. What your friend has in her favor is the fact that she has refused chemotherapy. That means her immune system is still intact, and there is the possibility that it can still function as it is meant to be. This is not always the case when chemotherapy is used. People really need to understand that those toxic drugs kill the good along with the bad.

Conventional medicine does not encourage alternative treatment approaches, and there are reasons for that. One of the main reasons is that there is established treatment protocols for various cancers. Going for other opinions to different doctors will generally give you the same results because doctors usually follow these same established protocols. The said protocols are established because of various research and studies; however, you have to keep in mind that a lot of this research is funded or promoted in one way or another by the pharmaceutical industry who has a lot to gain by the promotion of drug therapy-only treatments. I'm not trying to get political here or bash any industry in any way. I'm not anti-drug; many medicines have saved lives. I'm just trying to present a, "Hey, let's look at the big picture" and not write off any seriously ill person simply because they have chosen to not follow the only option that their doctor made available to them. Instead, let's do a little exploration and research and see if there is something--anything--your friend can do to improve her chances.

As an aside, I just want to share with you that I have a friend who had an end 4th-stage cancer and was essentially "written off". Lung and liver activity was involved. She looked like a skeleton and had started a fluid girth. She refused chemo completely, used a natural approach (including diet), and is now the picture of health. Two blood tests that show cancer markers are completely normal. She has gained weight, has wonderful color in her cheeks, and has an abundance of energy...hardly the person she was when she was considered to be on her deathbed.

There is a lot of information out there. It just takes the effort to do the research. That effort can truly be an effort of love.

Please check out this website to glean some info: The amount of information on this site is huge. It will really be an eye-opener. It is not necessarily the be-all end-all, but it is a good place to start.

Some specific topics to search for on-site as well as on the web are: Methyl Jasmonate, Curcumin, Flaxseed Oil in Cancer Treatment, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).

I was the caretaker of two immediate family members who died from cancers. I do not wish to see anyone go through what they did, and I will always be a proponent for exploring ALL possible treatments. The best thing you can do for your friend is to give her hope, something her conventional doctors and apparently others here believe is already gone. NEVER give up hope, not at any stage.

God bless.

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January 12, 20080 found this helpful

Sandy, she is disabled...Therefore she can get medicare-disability . GG hugs, Vi

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By (Guest Post)
January 12, 20080 found this helpful

What it means is that you are doing the best you can do. I agree very much with calling in friend recently used this service for her mother, they were invaluable!
You are doing the best thing that you can do, just being there....after all..there is NOTHING else you CAN do, so do not, do not, beat yourself up!

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January 12, 20080 found this helpful

Enjoy as much time with them as possible. I am going through the same thing with my younger sister. It started in her appendix-then went to her lung-the to her heart then brain. She went to radition, but don't know about the cemo yet. Like she has told me they are going to put poison in her body & she doesn't like that idea. I took care of my husband until he left . He had cancer & he wanted to be at home, so i took care of him at home like he wanted. It is much easyer on them. Enjoy every minute you can with them. I am.
God Bless & Take Care

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By Pat Spurgis (Guest Post)
January 12, 20080 found this helpful

On Channel 14, on the cable's a Christian channel. KNOW THE CAUSE,with Doug Kauffman, on the computer they talk about stuff like that, and other things. I had MRSA, after a hernia surgery, they helped me greatly.


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January 12, 20080 found this helpful

There's a saying, live like you're dying. And that's the best way to help. If she cries,hold her. If she laughs laugh with her. If she's tired, let her rest. If she wants to talk, listen. Live the way you always have with her as your friend before the cancer. Take each day as it comes with no expectations good or bad. This disease is extremely trying on family and friends, but if you think you're exhuasted now, it will get worse. You can rest after she's gone to rest eternal and you'll have no regrets. Also some or all of the anger and petty arguments is one way people try to cope. They feel angry because they feel helpless. Don't take any of it personal. I've been down this road twice before, my mother and my late husband. Now I'm traveling the road again three fold, my present husband, and two sisters. When I get to feeling I can't take any more, I'm too exhausted I pray for strength, then thank God for the one more day we had together. I wish you peace, God bless all of you.

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By Diana (Guest Post)
January 13, 20081 found this helpful

Create a caring bridge website to keep friends in far flung places updated ( It's free

Make sure she knows the power of the gospel

Read to her

Allow her to talk (vent, be angry, cry)

create a scrapbook for friends to sign and that she can take to her treatments with her (fill it with love, pictures, etc)

A treat bag for the hospital is nice (stamps, note cards, journal, scriptures, puzzle book, eye shades, hand cream, a favorite book, candy or photo, etc.) Also snacks for family member is helpful and much appreciated.

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January 13, 20080 found this helpful

May God bless each & every one of you, for your wonderful suggestions. They're all right. Be the friend to her, as you'd want her to remember you being. Do all you can to make her happy. Favorite flowers, favorite foods, favorite places to visit, favorite games, etc. It'll be as much as a blessing to you in your memories as it will be for her & her other loved ones. Most of all, make sure she knows our Lord Jesus Christ.

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By Mary (Guest Post)
January 14, 20080 found this helpful

Help her to write a journal of memories, good times and things she wants people to know about her. Good luck, and God Bless you all. Mary

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August 29, 2008

I just found out my sister/best friend has cervical cancer. I'm very shocked and heart broken over this news. We are both scared because I just lost my Mother-in-law to cancer so the word alone is so scary to me. I told my sister and she knows I'll be there for her through it all but I just want to know what I can do for her? What should I say to her?

April from Belford, NJ

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December 21, 2009

My best friend has advised me that she has breast cancer and has to go for treatments (chemo, etc). Since I live in a different part of the country and due to financial problems, I am not able to go to her. I need ideas to cheer her up.

By Lynda from Kearny, NJ

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March 4, 2018

Preparing a thoughtful gift basket for someone with serious health issues can bring smiles and inspiration. This page contains basket of encouragement ideas for a cancer patient.

Gift basket full of spa items.

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