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Providing support for those with a blood cancer

People living with these diseases need support to help them deal with the many demands of their illness and treatment. Diagnosis and treatment are challenging times when people need a lot of support. It is also important during times of relapse and recovery after treatment. While the need for support continues throughout the illness, the nature and the amount of this can change at different times.

Offering support is not always easy. While you may be only too willing to help if you can, you may feel awkward, or lack confidence about how to approach an unwell person. Chances are, however, that you will do your very best and the person and their family will appreciate that you are thinking about them, care for them and want to help them through a difficult time.

How can I help someone with blood cancer?

One of the best ways to provide support is to be a good listener. If you feel overwhelmed, or you don’t know what to say when talking to a person with blood cancer, tell them so. They will probably understand and appreciate that you are thinking about them, care for them and want to spend time with them.

Ask them how and what they would like to communicate with you and other friends, and how they want to spend your time together. They may wish to delegate a person to share information  on their treatment progress through a private group Facebook page or email, rather than discuss or repeat it. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable, nervous or overwhelmed at times. You may sometimes feel that you say insensitive or even stupid things in front of the person with cancer or their family. Chances are you are doing your very best to help. With time and some information you will probably start to feel more relaxed and able to help your loved one in more effective ways.

There are many different types of support needed by people living with these diseases. Some practical support may be required at different times. Most people feel comfortable providing this kind of support especially if they are guided by being given specific tasks, for example, helping with cooking, housework, picking up children, or taking care of the family pet. In some cases, friends and relatives devise a roster to help with the necessary day-to-day running of the household, especially where children are involved.

Where appropriate you could offer help by putting your loved one in contact with relevant services and organisations (including the Leukaemia Foundation) that provide practical, emotional and financial assistance for patients and families.

Support groups

Many people find it useful to talk with other people who understand the complex feelings and kinds of issues that arise for people living with cancer. As such, support groups can offer a supportive and informative environment for people to discuss issues important to them.

Education and support programs can offer you or the person with blood cancer important information and a supportive environment for people to discuss issues important to them. Health professionals at treating hospitals and will also have information about relevant support programs in their area, or learn more about the programs we offer here.