Feature Archive

A Letter to Friends

What can you do to help your friend with breast cancer? WebMD turned to the women in our breast cancer community to find out.

By Jayne Garrison
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Cynthia Haines

No woman with breast cancer wants to feel dependent or indebted. So when you ask, "What can I do to help?" you may hear, "Oh, nothing right now. I'll call you if I need you."

It's not true! We all need help during treatment. We are just too tired and too stressed out to "do it all."

So don't ask. Just do it. WebMD asked our members with breast cancer for ideas they all would have dearly loved during treatment. Please pass this around. Your friend fighting cancer will thank you.

Be There, but Don't Push
Offer support, but let your friend set the tone. On some days, she may want to cry with you. On others, she may want to discuss anything but breast cancer.

Bring Over Dinners
During chemo, bring something bland, like roasted chicken and rice, or chicken soup. You could cook for four nights and bring over packets for the freezer, or just phone and say, "I'm roasting chicken for tonight, one for me and one for you."

Get Gift Certificates for Dinners
Many towns have a service such as Waiters On Wheels. If yours does, chip in for a gift certificate so your friend can order in meals from a variety of restaurants.

Make Runs to the Store
Before you go grocery shopping, or to the cleaners or the drugstore, call and say, "I'm going anyway, give me your list." Tell your friend you'll do her shopping and errands once a week, on the same day each week, so she can plan.

Hire a Cleaning Service
Get friends to chip in for a cleaning service to come every two weeks. Your friend might be embarrassed if her pals show up with mops. But she'll be grateful for a professional cleaning service.

Offer to Drive the Kids
If you carpool with your friend, offer to pick up her days. Even if you don't carpool, volunteer to drive her kids to practice.

Do Girlie Things
Go get a facial together, or a manicure and pedicure -- anything that leaves you feeling pampered and relaxed.

Originally published October 2001.

Medically updated August 2004.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 6:53:38 AM