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.
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:
Wendy, co-survivorWhen 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 reserves the right to edit or format submissions for any reason and to remove or decline to post any submissions.
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 PartnerTalking with Your ChildrenGetting the Support You NeedSexuality and IntimacyLife after TreatmentEnd-of-Life CareFollow-upMedical Vocabulary
Want to learn more about breast cancer? Read our other Fact Sheets or visit our section on Support.
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:
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
Facts for Life: What is Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer 101
1-877 GO KOMEN(1-877-465-6636)