A loved one just got di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer… now what?

Nurse clin­i­cian Ms Wong Wan Hua, who works in the Breast Care Cen­tre at Na­tional Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal, tells us what we can do to help.

CLEO (Singapore) - - BEAUTY -

Help her run er­rands

The battle against can­cer takes a toll on the body. When­ever you can, help her out with phys­i­cally-de­mand­ing chores like house­work, shop­ping, and cook­ing.

En­cour­age her to get a hair­cut

Hair will start to fall off af­ter chemo­ther­apy, and for those with long hair, the ex­pe­ri­ence can be up­set­ting. Going for a shorter hair­style can help to ease the pa­tient into things.

Ask her ‘what are you feel­ing’ in­stead of ‘how are you feel­ing’

“This helps to dig a lit­tle deeper into the per­son’s con­cerns. Most of the time, when you ask some­one how they’re feel­ing, the re­sponse will usu­ally be ‘fine’ or ‘OK’. This does not al­low for much dis­cus­sion,” says Ms Wong.

In­tro­duce her to a fel­low breast can­cer sur­vivor

Just know­ing some­one else who has been through the same thing be­fore can be a great source of strength. The Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion and Sin­ga­pore Can­cer Society have be­frien­der pro­grammes, where sur­vivor vol­un­teers can pro­vide coun­selling sup­port as well.

Plan lit­tle surprises for her

Things like get-well cards, flow­ers, or even a small gift of achieve­ment for com­plet­ing a treat­ment can be very en­cour­ag­ing.

Take care of your­self as well

If you’re a care­giver, make sure you avoid burnout. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire some­one if need be.

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