Lives are forever changed as the result of a cancer diagnosis. Families spring into action, anxious to begin treatment, while all are understandably filled with worry. The experience of having life turned upside down is one that 276,400 American women with a breast cancer diagnosis, face every year.
The reality of living with cancer is that daily life becomes about treatment; conversations become centered on doctor’s appointments, weighing options, side effects, medications, and “what ifs.” Inevitably, many other life to-dos fall to the wayside.
This is where a strong support system comes in. Given the prevalence of breast cancer, it’s likely that someone in your life will be diagnosed. Here are a few ideas for how you can best provide support and spread awareness.
- Offer specific, tangible help. Instead of saying, “let me know if there’s anything I can do,” suggest ways that you can assist, and then let them choose. For example, you might say, “I’d like to bring dinner over. Which day next week would be convenient for you?” or, “I’m headed to the store; what can I get you?” People who are grappling with cancer don’t have the time or energy to delegate, so the most specific help you can offer is best.
- In the realm of help, there’s no better gift than that of a clean home. Buying your friend or loved one a gift certificate to The Maids is a simple way to make their life easier, while showing you care.
- Listen. Listen to their plans, concerns, fears, and hopes. This is not the time to share a story of your best friend’s cousin or offer treatment advice; this is the time to listen intently and acknowledge their feelings.
- Donate to an organization that provides early detection services, education, and support to women who are battling the disease. Learn more about the National Breast Cancer Foundation here.
- Volunteer to walk or sponsor a walker at a fundraiser, such as the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, consider joining a support group. The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a virtual support group that meets once a month. Connect with others who are walking similar journeys.
- Get a mammogram. Learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for screening frequency.
- Share stories from women who’ve been there. Read about their lives, their struggles, and their hopes. Social media is more powerful than ever; use your own personal platform to educate others and encourage early detection.
How The Maids Supports Breast Cancer Patients
Battling breast cancer can exhaust the patient in many ways, leaving little energy for much else. That’s one of the reasons The Maids participates in Cleaning For A Reason, an organization that provides free cleaning services for women undergoing cancer treatment. The program has served more than 40,000 women with almost $14 million in donated house cleanings.
We take away the worry of cleaning while making their homes a place of comfort to heal and invite others in. Patients can register for a free cleaning from the Cleaning For A Reason website.
This month, find a way to spread awareness and support those who are affected by breast cancer. Donate to Cleaning For A Reason, or use your time to support a patient in need. Together, we can make a difference.