What can I do for my friend with cancer

What Can I Do For My Friend With Cancer? Five Steps To Help

It can be very daunting to find out that you have a colleague, loved one or friend with cancer.  Sometimes it can be hard to know what to say and do.

Cancer Care Parcel staff are experts in providing help to all those affected by cancer, as we have all had first-hand experience.

Here we set out 5 steps that you can do to help your colleague, loved one or friend with cancer.

1. Talk and LISTEN to your friend with cancer

The easy option is to avoid the friend or avoid the subject and this happens a lot.  It’s not easy to know what to say.  The most important advise is not to avoid your friend when they may need you most and to pay attention to clues when you speak with them.  

We have several in-depth articles on this site about talking to someone with cancer, and we have listed some below.

2. Give your friend with cancer your time, by offering to help in specific ways

Saying, “I am here if you need me” or “let me know if you need any help” might not be viewed as a sincere offer of help.  It is better to make concrete offers of help for

Examples can be

  • drive them to appointments and take notes
  • do the laundry
  • wash the dishes
  • hire a cleaner
  • bring/cook them appropriate food

3. Give an appropriate gift

Cancer gifts can ease this stress and show that you care.  But there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the right thing to give.  Not everyone having chemotherapy looses their hair for example, and a girly cancer hamper might not be suitable or the macho man with cancer.  A useful gift needs to be well thought out and appropriate for the person and the treatment.

4. Remember their partner and children.

  • Offer to pick the children up and/or take them out
  • Give the  partner time off
  • Give the family  a treat
  • Let family and friends talk also

5. Sign up to our newsletter

When you sign up to our newsletter, you will get our articles delivered to your inbox monthly, for no charge.  Our articles contain information for all those affected by cancer.  You will get tips on different aspects on how to help and also an insight into what your friend might be reading or experiencing.

Finally, many people say that they find out who their friends really are when they have been diagnosed with cancer.

Our tips above can be a starting point to ensure that the person you know with cancer,  who may need someone at this difficult time, has you to depend on.

Talk and listen to your friend with cancer

Appropriate gifts for people with cancer

Further reading

What we do

Practical suggestions for helping a friend with cancer

Talking to someone with cancer

For carers

Advice  about cancer

Appropriate gifts and giving

Further resources


  1. god bless us all

  2. I’ve got bowel cancer my daughter takes good care of me I’m so lucky xx

  3. Great suggestions, but would not have helped me. I was one of those who motored on through to beat th… https://t.co/3qjVaRQSb4

  4. A friend of mine gave me a huge bag of £1 coins saying “this is for the hospital car park” – so thoug… https://t.co/ebtvK3ryW1

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