Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Breast cancer health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Breast cancer: Tips for family

A breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the person with cancer, and family and friends will be called on for support and may need to make adjustments.

Here are some tips to help family and friends cope with a loved one’s diagnosis:

  • Feel free to ask the doctor questions if you accompany the patient to appointments and the patient gives you permission to do so.
  • Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behaviour and mood. Medication, discomfort and stress can cause someone with cancer to become depressed or angry.
  • Encourage the patient to be active and independent, as much as possible, to help regain a sense of self-reliance and confidence.
  • Be realistic about your own needs. Make sure you are sleeping enough, eating properly, and taking some time off for yourself. It is hard to offer much help when you are exhausted. If you take care of your needs, it may be easier to meet the needs of your loved one.
  • Do not hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help. They will appreciate the opportunity to help.
  • Family members and friends of a person coping with cancer may also find themselves under a great deal of stress. To reduce your stress:
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. "Assert" your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. Do not rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 30, 2016

Women's health newsletter

Health news, features and tools for your life
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
man in mirror
How smoking affects your looks & life
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
man holding sore neck
Could you have a hormone imbalance?
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman holding mouth
Common mouth problems
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
Allergies
Allergy myths and facts
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver