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Breast Cancer and Tips for Family

The person with the breast cancer is not the only one affected. Family members and friends are also influenced by health changes of a loved one.

Here are some tips to help family and friends cope with a loved one's diagnosis:

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  • Feel free to ask the doctor questions if you accompany your loved one to appointments. Write your questions down so you don't forget them.
  • Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, discomforts, and stress may cause your loved one to become depressed, angry, or fatigued.
  • Encourage your loved one to be active and independent, as much as possible, to help her regain a sense of self-reliance and confidence.
  • Be realistic about your own needs. Be sure you are sleeping enough, eating properly, and taking some time off for yourself. It is hard to offer much help when you are exhausted. If you take care of your needs, it may be easier to meet the needs of your loved one.
  • Don't hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help. They will appreciate the opportunity to help.

Family members and friends of a person coping with breast cancer may also find themselves under a great deal of stress. To reduce your stress:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. "Assert" your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.
  • Consider joining a support group.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on May 09, 2012
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