When someone you know is diagnosed with cancer, it really can affect your world just as much as theirs. If this person is close to you, it can be especially hard. Sure this is their life we are talking about, but for their close friends and family there is a time where you too will have to come to terms with their disease and step up to be there for them. You have to understand the different stages and types of cancer. Some are curable and just require time and therapies to overcome. However, some cancers are incurable and you will need to accept it and not turn your back on them when they need you most.

Often we hear from cancer patients how lonely they are, or how they feel awkward running into friends. As friends we want to extend our sincerity, but are often unsure of how to conduct ourselves, unsure of what to say and unsure if they want to talk about it. It’s almost like we would rather ignore it and keep changing the subject instead of taking it head on.

First off, let’s get this out in the open. Cancer is not contagious. You can hug, hold hands and kiss a person with cancer without it ever spreading. Their house is not contagious. Do not stay away. Always call before coming over, as they may be having a bad day or reactions to the chemotherapy and are not up to visiting. If the days seem to turn into weeks, ask their spouse or caregiver if you can come and sit with them anyhow. Be sensitive, but talk to them as you would anyone else. They need contact that is not always about their cancer.

Here are some top things that you should do for people with cancer:

*Offer your sincere support

*Lend an ear, ask questions

*Bring magazines, crosswords and other favorite easy activities

*Hold their hands, give them hugs often

*Keep them up to date on news stories

*Offer to run errands, sneak them ice cream or have fun

*Bring in a gift basket full of lotions, candles and other goodies to make them smile

*Don’t be afraid to talk about their cancer, let them lead you. If they don’t want to talk, don’t push.

*Treat them as you would any friend who was under the weather.

*As the days go by, cancer can progress. I understand people are uncomfortable around people who are dying.

However, during this transition time the cancer patient more then ever needs friends. Reading to them, telling them stories of your life, singing songs, and all these things can be done with little interaction from them. Don’t be afraid to show how much you care. Put yourself in their position, do you want to spend the last few days or months alone? Most cancer patients don’t want pity. If anything cancer makes them stronger. They have to be strong to endure hours of treatments, side effects and medications. They usually become the ones that will encourage you to stay strong. Put aside your concerns, step over your fears and reach out to someone who needs a friend. If your there to help encourage them to fight this battle you gain a forever friend, if the cancer overtakes them, your friendship will have meant more then the world. You really have nothing to lose.

Author's Bio: 

Pam Brown is a writer and contributor for the Grief Resource Center at Planet Gift Baskets, an industry leader in Sympathy Gifts & Sympathy Gift Baskets.