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When your friend is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing you want to do is help and the last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing. But it’s hard to know what will actually be helpful.

Just the fact that you’re willing to be a supportive friend is very important. In fact, research shows that cancer patients who have strong support communities have an increased chance at better outcomes. What does it mean to have a strong support community? It’s simply a social connection between people.

Here are some ways you can show your support and provide caring assistance, rather than feeling helpless.

  1. Stay informed about your friend’s health and well-being.
  2. Send encouraging messages and photos.
  3. Learn about your friend’s specific cancer type and treatments.
  4. Volunteer to help with meals, mowing the lawn, child care, or rides to treatment.
  5. Share a smile, send a joke or a funny image.

Managing a support community can be a difficult challenge for cancer patients and caregivers. Returning every phone call, text and request for information can be exhausting.  That’s why MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation provides a free tool for this purpose. They’re a nonprofit organization that encourages cancer patients and caregivers to create free, customized websites.

A patient – or a friend or family member like yourself, can create a site and invite guests to visit and participate in the online community, where updates, cancer information and encouraging messages can be centralized and tools like the helping calendar and giving angels can easily be used to coordinate volunteers and raise funds. Our ultimate goal is to help relieve the burden of communications for people affected by cancer, so they can focus on healing.

– See more at: http://blog.cancersupportcommunity.org/2014/08/20/5-ways-to-help-a-friend-with-cancer/#sthash.piB5Ea9e.dpuf