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Cancer Health Center

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Cancer Support: Tips for Family and Friends

Your family and friends become your inner circle of support during cancer treatment.

What to Do When Family and Friends Can’t Offer Cancer Support

What can you do if you don’t have a network of friends and family to rely on? Maybe you’ve relocated and your closest friends are on the other side of the country. Or perhaps you’ve become estranged from your family.

“If you know that you won’t get support from your family and friends, you need to tell your doctor up front,” says Burstein. “You will need help from someone.”

Buckner agrees. He suggests that you talk to a hospital ombudsman or social worker about your situation. See what cancer support they can offer. You could also try the American Cancer Society or other patient advocacy organizations, he says.

However, don’t give up on your friends and family too quickly. Regular phone calls from loved ones far away may still help. Even distant relatives can become key cancer supports in a crisis.

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Reviewed on May 21, 2008

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