There is no doubt that it is sometimes hard to know what to say when you find out that someone has cancer. Here are three basic tips for how to handle it when you are not sure.
1. Give advice
It is always hard to give good advice when you are not in the person’s shoes. When listening to someone’s problems, the natural reaction can be to attempt to offer a solution. Despite this inclination, in most circumstances, the best and safer option is to ask questions, or simply listen when they need to talk.
2. Discuss alternatives
Usually, by the time you hear that someone has cancer, they have already been overwhelmed with different treatment or outcome scenarios. New or alternative treatments, or cancer curing diets, are usually not what a person with cancer wants to hear at this stage. You may mean well, but it is not required to offer suggestions for other options, unless the person has specifically asked you for some, or revealed that they are actively looking for alternatives.
3. Talk about other people’s cancer
It is so easy to be reminded of other peoples cancer when faced with someone who has a cancer diagnosis. People often try to relate the experiences of others to those they already understand, in order to show understanding, or for another well-intentioned reason. However, it is actually not a good idea to talk about these in most cases, as they are unlikely to be exactly relevant, and could even be depressing for the person you are talking to. Unless you have an uplifting story that directly relates to them, it is generally best to say nothing.