Supporting a friend as they go through cancer treatment could be one of the most loving gifts you give them. They will need a lot of help, even though they may always say that they are fine. Anticipate what they may need and help them before they ask. They will cherish your help even if they can't say "Thanks" in the moment.
Learn About the Cancer Treatment
The first step is to be interested in, and learn all you can about, how the cancer treatment might affect your friend. Oncology clinics such as Southwest Oncology Centers offer sessions that discuss the treatment and what you can expect. They will suggest ways in which you can help your friend. Your friend's doctor may hold informational sessions that you can attend with your friend.
Offer to Watch the Children
The oncology clinic can be a very somber place and often does not allow children to be present. People undergoing treatment prefer a calm atmosphere. They may become a little nauseated and tired during the session, too. Offering to watch their children frees up your friend from having to find a sitter every few days while undergoing treatment.
Prepare Meals for Your Friend and Their Family
Your friend's appetite will be affected by the cancer therapy and they will be concerned about meals for their family. Prepare dishes ahead of time that can be frozen and reheated later for your friend. Find breakfast, lunch and dinner items that they might enjoy. You can coordinate other friends to take turns fixing meals so your friend and their family always have something nice for their meals.
Help Out with Housework
Chemo and radiation therapy can drain the strength of your friend so they may struggle to do simple household chores. Come over for part of the day and do the vacuuming, dusting, laundry and dishes. Your friend will feel better knowing that their house is being kept up during their treatment period.
Run Errands for Your Friend
Getting groceries, going to the bank or taking the kids to school activities can drain your friend of any energy they do have left after their treatment. Offer to do some of the running around for them. They may enjoy just riding with you in the car while you do their errands.
Just Be Present
Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for your friend is to just be with them. Take them to their appointment and sit with them. "I'll be fine so you can go to the coffee shop and come back for me in an hour" your friend may say to you bravely. "I think I'll just sit here with you, if you don't mind" are the words they would most like to hear from you.