What to Do if Someone
You Love Has Cancer
February 10th, 2013 by Holly Cornish
Back in Issue 250, I talked about what to do if you get a cancer diagnosis. It’s a critical topic, given the life-changing nature of the disease.
But it’s just as important to know how to handle the cancer diagnosis of a friend or a family member. What should you do, or not do? How can you help without offending? What should you say (or not say)?
Read on for some of the best approaches, in my experience, for helping someone else fight cancer.
Continued below. . .
Oliver was doomed to die from cancer
within 8 hours —
But then he found out what to do. . .
Oliver had reached the end of the road in his seven-year fight against cancer. His doctors didn’t think this 32-year-old man would live through the night.
But when I talked to Oliver six years later, he was the picture of health! He got rid of his cancer completely.
Yes, Oliver found the answer — his own cancer miracle.
I sat down with him and his doctor and they told me an incredible story. . . a story that could help save you or someone you love from this dreaded disease.
If you’d like to hear it, click here now.
Cancer ALWAYS goes beyond the person diagnosed
The first thing you’ve got to remember is that EVERYONE is affected by a cancer diagnosis. It’s not just about the person fighting the disease. Caregivers, friends, and family members of someone battling cancer also cope with emotional and physical challenges.
Of course, they are also the very people who can provide the best support to a cancer sufferer. Now, I’ll admit that communicating with the people we love most can be tough, even in the best of times. Throw cancer into the picture and you have a whole new level of deep emotions and concerns to deal with.
The most important thing is to not get scared you’ll say or do the wrong thing. Sometimes the best approach is just to lend a sympathetic ear. That sort of emotional support is crucial for helping a cancer sufferer stave off the anxiety and stress they feel after a diagnosis.
To be honest, keeping the relationship normal is about the best thing you can do. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Start by preparing yourself. In general, cancer sufferers won’t want to spend hours discussing their diagnosis. It’s too emotionally draining. If they do want to talk, by all means — talk. But take the time to learn as much as you can on your own about the details of someone’s cancer. Reach out to their spouse or a mutual friend to make sure you have all your facts straight. If certain details aren’t known, don’t push for more.
- Ask first. Ask before you pay a visit, before you give advice, and before you request details about someone’s cancer treatment. Make sure they feel comfortable saying “no.”
- Be ready for changes in appearance. Weight changes and fatigue are common in cancer. Hair loss is one of the most noticeable effects, if the person is undergoing chemotherapy. The best route is to not to comment on physical changes at all. Just tell your friend or family member how happy you are to see them.
- Don’t hesitate to make plans for the future. It gives a cancer sufferer something to look forward to.
- Welcome emotions. Don’t ignore feelings of sadness, but make sure you allow for fun and humor when you visit someone facing a diagnosis.
- Don’t let someone’s cancer become the elephant in the room. Talk about it if they’re willing, but don’t let it steer your relationship. Treat them the same way you always have.
- If you’re related to the person, don’t turn the conversation to your own risk levels. Don’t talk about the risk their children might be facing, either.
- Keep in touch. Call or write emails. Send letters or care packages. About the worst thing you can do is lose touch with someone because you don’t know what to say. A simple “I’m thinking of you” is all it takes.
The two most important things you can do
Be honest here — most of us don’t like to ask for help. Cancer patients are no different. So don’t wait for someone to ask. Make an offer. Be specific about it, too. Instead of saying, “Can I do anything for you?” ask if you can bring a meal over, or take care of kids or pets.
You can also shop for groceries, pick up prescriptions, water plants, mow the lawn, or drive them to a support group meeting. Or to a treatment session. In short, make an offer that can’t be refused.
I know a young family who says they’ve hardly cooked a meal since the wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Their neighbors got together and bring them meals — usually things that last for a few days and can be reheated to provide several meals. They’ve also received a lot of volunteer help in looking after their young children.
The second most important thing you can do is to help with the financial side of cancer. There’s no way around it — cancer is expensive. But, it can be awkward to give someone money directly (awkward for them to accept it, too).
A better option is to give a gift card to the grocery store or a store like Target. Or spring for a housecleaning service, or a therapeutic treatment like massage or acupuncture. Many massage therapists and other types of therapists will be happy to provide a gift card entitling your friend or relative to treatments.
A newer approach to helping someone deal with the financial strain of cancer is to set up a fundraising page. Crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo make it easy for anyone to raise money for any purpose. Kickstarter and GoFundMe are other popular options. Just set up a page that tells the story of the person you’re raising money for, set a money goal, and then share the page with other friends and family members. They can donate online using credit cards.
There’s usually a small fee of 4 or 5 percent off your fundraising goal, but funds are disbursed just two weeks after the campaign is over (and you set the deadline).
Help them incorporate alternative treatments
One of the most valuable things you could possibly do for someone with cancer is to be their advocate. That means you go to all their doctor’s appointments with them, help them weigh the pros and cons of different treatment options, and essentially stay by their side throughout their cancer battle. This is usually appropriate if you’re very close to the person battling cancer.
If you’re a little more removed from them, or if they already have an advocate, there are plenty of other supportive roles you can play.
A really important role is to serve as someone’s exercise partner. Exercise gives cancer patients both physical and emotional benefits, like reducing stress, improving sleep patterns and helping with fatigue, as well as boosting mood. It can be as simple as a daily walk around the block. Just make sure they get signoff from their healthcare team.
Other good exercise options are weight lifting to help build muscle — important because patients often lose muscle (and gain fat) during cancer treatment. And then there’s aerobic exercise, like running or swimming, which helps with cardiovascular fitness and burns extra calories. Flexibility exercises like stretching or yoga help a cancer patient maintain mobility.
On a different note, regular care packages go a long way in helping a cancer victim through treatment. Send things like funny DVDs — I’m a fan of classics like Laurel and Hardy or The Three Stooges. Vibrant flowers or live plants are also a nice option. Here’s a vital tip, though: When you send gifts or packages, make it clear that no “thank you” is expected. You can be sure a cancer sufferer will appreciate every act of kindness they get, but that person may not be up to writing thank you cards or even making phone calls.
Another really valuable approach is to help educate them about supportive treatment and alternative therapies. But you have to tread lightly here. Very few people want unsolicited advice, even from their closest friends and relatives. If you know the patient is receptive to alternative health in general, then you might find a way to tactfully suggest some helpful supplements or eating plans.
You should never push a treatment on someone — they have to want it. But, as our weekly newsletters testify, there are hundreds of excellent complementary approaches for people battling cancer … and it takes work to research and understand them. So, offer to do the work for them.
Don’t let the disease define the person
Cancer is a game-changer, absolutely, but under every awful diagnosis is a person. Maybe that person is your friend, or brother, or daughter, or parent. Don’t forget that.
A lot of cancer survivors report they found out who their real friends were after they got cancer. That was when the people who really cared stood out from the ones who never called, never expressed their sympathy, suddenly lost touch, or just dismissed the cancer sufferer’s fears.
At the same time, if you’re a caregiver to someone with cancer, or very close to a cancer sufferer, you’re bound to face some stress. Make absolutely sure you take good care of yourself so you can be at 100% when the person you’re caring for needs you. Check out resources like the Peer Support Network, which connects caregivers with others who’ve faced similar experiences.
Or, try online tools like Lotsa Helping Hands, which makes it easy to coordinate offers for help between other friends and family. It also lets you post updates as someone heals from cancer, which saves them the hassle of having the same conversation multiple times with concerned friends and family members.
The bottom line to all of this to just let someone know you’re there and you care.
I know of one treatment that ANYONE might agree to try, even if they reject alternative and integrative medicine. We wrote about it in the last issue. Scroll down and read it now if you missed it.
Detoxification Without Effort:
This Gentle, Warming Treatment
Coaxes Cancer Out of Your Body
Infrared energy is getting a lot more buzz these days, which comes as no surprise. We’ve all experienced the soothing effects of bright sunlight on a cold, wintry day. We feel this energy as it gets absorbed by anything it touches. It’s comfortable, natural heat with proven regenerative effects.
That’s why infrared saunas are proving to be such potent disease-fighting tools—they combine the best of what we love here at Cancer Defeated: Natural treatment that stimulates your body’s built-in immune function. This is a super-treatment — profoundly effective and completely harmless. Keep reading to find out more…
Continued below. . .
End Those “Senior Moments” For Good!
Can’t find your car keys for the umpteenth time? Misplace your glasses again? Don’t remember names or faces very well? Ever walk into a room and go blank about why you’re there?
Usually we laugh it off as just another “senior moment.”
There’s no question that small lapses in memory and concentration can happen naturally as you get older. They’re embarrassing. They’re frustrating.
But they’re certainly no joke.
The mental lapses you laugh off today might be red alerts of serious brain changes that can steal away your memory and independence tomorrow.
What’s so impressive about infrared saunas is that they take care of four of the biggest offenders that come with a cancer diagnosis: Toxins, stress, circulation, and pain. Managing all four is essential to a successful treatment/prevention regimen.
I’ve talked about infrared saunas before (see Issue #51). They’re known to help fight cancer, reduce blood pressure, relieve pain, reverse heart disease, and promote weight loss, plus a host of other health benefits. I think the topic is worth revisiting.
Detoxification: The key to revitalized health
We’re not the first to figure this out. Saunas have been around for centuries, first invented by the Finns. In fact, the word sauna is an ancient Finnish word that refers to the traditional Finnish bathhouse. The Finns used the sauna to promote sweating—and more: It’s a place to cleanse the mind and energize the spirit. Even today, saunas are a part of daily life for most people who live in Finland.
The simple explanation for the rich array of sauna-health benefits is that a heated sauna causes your body’s core temperature to rise. Your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow throughout your body. The circulating blood spreads heat throughout your body, which moves toward the surface of your skin. This prompts your body to begin sweating in an effort to cool off. Sweat is one of your body’s natural cleansing processes. It releases toxins.
Toxin-release aside, saunas help you look and feel better. They provide a warm and quiet place to relax without distraction, and that relieves stress. The heat relaxes your muscles. The high temperatures also release endorphins, those body chemicals that make you feel happy and bring about general pain relief.
Saunas also induce a very deep sleep if used before bedtime. When your body temperature rises and then falls, it facilitates sleep.
Saunas also help improve cardiovascular performance. With regular sauna use, you can strengthen your heart muscles for better cardiovascular output. The sweating and increased heart rate you get from a sauna session actually replicate some of the benefits of a traditional workout.
Infrared vs. traditional saunas
Traditional saunas use heat to raise the air temperature, which in turn heats the surface of the skin. They generally do this with conventional heat that approaches temperatures as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. The high temperatures induce sweating after a session of 10 to 15 minutes. It’s a dry heat though, so most folks also like to toss water on the heating element inside a traditional sauna to raise the level of humidity.
Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use light to create heat. This means your body gets heated directly without warming the air around you. It’s the same as getting in your car on a sunny day in winter and finding it toasty warm. That’s the effect of the infrared light from the sun. It tends to be a gentle, radiant type of heat.
Infrared sauna temperatures range from 120 degrees up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures aren’t needed since the infrared panels emit deep, penetrating, infrared heat that goes directly into your body versus the air around you. Humidity levels are similar to those you have in your house.
The type of heat emitted is due to the type of heating panels inside an infrared sauna. The infrared spectrum consists of three wavelengths (near, mid and far) and are optimized for maximum absorption by body tissue. This means your body absorbs the heat directly and it penetrates deeper—up to 1½ inches below your skin. This targeted approach produces sweat whose content is 15-20 percent toxins from your body, such as heavy metals, sulfuric acid, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins. Compare this to sweat from a traditional sauna which was shown to be only 3 percent toxins and 97% water.
The lower temperatures of an infrared sauna tend to be more comfortable and soothing if you dislike the intense heat of traditional saunas. Now, don’t get me wrong: You can raise the temperature of an infrared sauna to 150 degrees, if you wish. But you don’t need to because they cause you to sweat more at lower temperatures.
Energy costs are not significant in either case, though you’ll save with an infrared sauna. The average cost to heat a traditional sauna is 30 cents an hour (and heating takes 30 to 40 minutes). Once heated, the energy cost averages 25 cents an hour.
An infrared sauna averages 18 cents an hour when it first heats up (initial heating takes 20 to 30 minutes), followed by roughly 7 to 10 cents per hour to maintain the temperature.
Infrared sauna as a cancer therapy
The main question is whether far infrared heat works as a health tool. I think the strongest benefit comes from reducing the load of toxins in your body. Cancers that spread rapidly are hard to manage because their toxic load increases so quickly. That means constant detoxification is one of the most important things you can do, both to prevent and treat cancer.
But full spectrum and far infrared saunas offer other benefits besides detoxification. They reduce stress, reduce pain, improve circulation, lower blood pressure and boost cell health. These benefits combined make for a priceless boost to your chances of beating cancer.
There’s another hidden advantage: You can burn as much as 600 calories during a 30-minute session. It’s like a passive cardio workout.
Tips on buying your home infrared sauna
I find infrared saunas are more comfortable and seem to penetrate more effectively into my skin than do traditional saunas. The more advanced infrared saunas have been on the market for about 15 years and have clinical data to show health benefits. Full spectrum infrared saunas are the most recent advancement and emit near, mid and far infrared wavelengths for added benefits.
If you decide to buy one, make sure whatever you buy emits safe levels of EMF (electro magnetic fields). The National Institutes of Health states there’s no evidence of risk from EMF exposure, but I’d still take precautions and reduce your risk as much as possible.
For health benefits, the most important element to consider is the heater emissivity. This determines how efficiently infrared heat is conducted and emitted. Lower-end saunas can be less than 80% efficient at emitting infrared heat. For optimal results, you’ll want to ensure it is at least 95% efficient. Higher efficiency heaters give you far better results in less time.
One final thought: Sauna therapy works best as part of an integrated health program. I’d say one of the best approaches to cancer treatment and prevention is regular infrared sauna use combined with eating fresh, locally grown, organic foods, freshly squeezed vegetable juice, and plenty of sleep.
If you’re interested in learning more about infrared saunas, an excellent, cutting-edge manufacturer is Sunlighten, offering clinically backed full-spectrum infrared saunas. Visit their website or call 1-877-292-0020. Another reputable (albeit more expensive) brand is TheraSauna. Infrared saunas, with their myriad health benefits, are definitely an at-home therapy option worth checking out.
Lee Euler, Publisher