When someone has breast cancer it's scary for them - and for you! What can you do to really help? What should you say? Is it better to just listen? There are as many ways of being a good co-survivor as there are people! The qualifications? A willingness to be yourself and be present.
How can I be a more effective co-survivor? - Tips and Ideas
It doesn't take time-consuming and heroic gestures to be a good co-survivor. Sometimes being there and listening is all that matters. Survivors and co-survivors share their insights on what mattered most to them when breast cancer became a part of their lives. For example:
When breast cancer confined our friend Martha to her bed, we wanted to find a way to brighten her day. We found a nail salon willing to send a manicurist to do Martha's nails at home. Not only did it give her some much-needed pampering, but it allowed her to feel like a normal woman and not a "patient" for a little while.
Read tips and ideas submitted by survivors and co-survivors
Do you have an idea or suggestion to help someone become a more effective co-survivor? Email us your tip*, in 75 words or less; please put "Co-survivor Tip" in the subject line.
*Susan G. Komen for the Cure reserves the right to edit or format submissions for any reason and to remove or decline to post any submissions.
What else do I need to know?
Breast cancer can change the lives of those affected and those around them. Get help on how to talk about tough subjects, stay flexible, make adjustments, deal with change and stay open and honest with each other about feelings, needs and expectations.
Talking with Your Partner
Talking with Your Children
Getting the Support You Need
Sexuality and Intimacy
Life after Treatment
Want to learn more about breast cancer? Read our other Fact Sheets or visit our section on Support.
How else can I help?
Looking for more ways to lend a hand to those with breast cancer? There are lots of ways to help out, show you care and make others aware:
- Create an online calendar to organize meal deliveries, rides and other tasks to assist your loved one as he or she travels the breast cancer journey.
- Bring together family, friends and coworkers to help support and care for your loved one through a caring social network and planner. CaringBridge provides sites where friends and family can stay connected and updated on someone’s health event and leave messages of hope and encouragement. The planner also gives you the power to set a community of support in motion by organizing meals, tasks and other helpful activities.
- Support research, education, screening and treatment programs worldwide by purchasing gifts and educational materials from ShopKomen.com. Fifty to 80 percent of the purchase price of all products sold will benefit Komen.
- Join us in a Komen Race for the Cure®, the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world.
- Komen is lucky to have so many corporate partners in the fight against breast cancer Learn how you can participate in raising money and awareness for breast cancer by participating in these events or buying these everyday products.
- Sign up for KomenLink, Komen's monthly e-Newsletter featuring timely information about breast cancer and the organization's programs and initiatives, as well as information on how you can get involved in the cause. And - it's free! View past issues
Need someone to talk to? Necesita hablar?
Feeling overwhelmed? Call the our breast care helpline and talk with our trained and caring staff. The helpline can help you find more information, talk you through your questions or just help you get through a rough spot. We can also send you free copies of our educational materials. Call the breast care helpline toll-free at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), Monday through Friday, 9am to 10pm EST. Se habla Español.
Updated: May 16, 2013