Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don't Be A Stranger

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it puts in motion a series of events that can have wide ranging consequences for personal and professional relationships. In many cases, people who are diagnosed with cancer and begin treatment face interruptions in their normal routines that span from mild to severe.

Depending on the stage of cancer diagnosed, further testing and treatment may need to begin immediately often leading to schedules that are blown off course. In a life-changing event such as this, it is easy to lose the day to day camaraderie of colleagues, friends and fellow workers. When a patient is away from their routine for some time, an awkwardness can creep in based on the right way to approach the patient's cancer battle.

This awkwardness stems from the fact that folks in a standardized routine, say, going to work or school each day, really don't want to be reminded that illness and loss of routine can happen to them. They tend to not know what to say to those who are battling cancer and thus a gulf exists in communication. One party doesn't want to be reminded of how anyone is susceptible to cancer and the survivors don't want to be left out of everyday life and cut off from communication. Former co-workers, colleagues, family and friends just 'don't know what to say' to cancer patients.

It's really simple. Acknowledge that the person battling cancer is doing so and just be yourself! The cancer patient will welcome hearing from all those who shared their world and who are genuinely interested in their recovery and future. Don't be a stranger! You will not offend anyone by honestly connecting to them and sending along your greetings. Just use common sense, be tactful and let the sunshine in – it will make a lot of difference, guaranteed! It would be wonderful to hear from other folks about their experiences with loved ones who are battling caner.

There's a great conversation on the message boards at Cancer Compass to give you a cancer patient's perspective.
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