- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- The others in your life
- The effect on friends
Talking with friends
You may find your friends are invaluable in providing emotional and practical support. If you are not close to your family or if they don’t live nearby, friends can be particularly helpful.
Some friends can listen to whatever you say – complaints, hopes, fears, wishes – without judging you, and without trying to cheer you up or giving advice. Others may avoid you or seem reluctant to talk about the diagnosis.
These suggestions may help:
- Set limits around how much you want to share – you can simply say you’d like to talk about something else.
- Ask friends how they feel about the diagnosis – this gives them permission to discuss the situation.
- Be as specific as possible when friends ask how they can help.
- If friends offer information you’re not comfortable with (e.g. details of an alternative therapy used by a friend or celebrity who has had a surprising recovery), change the topic or let them know you are comfortable with the care provided by your treatment team.
There are many ways to keep friends and family updated when you don’t have the time or energy to talk with people individually. Use text messages, email, blogs or social networking sites, or write one letter and send copies to people. If you’d like to know what others are up to, ask for replies.
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed- Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
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