23 Nice Things You Can Do for Someone With Cancer

by bnmcnabb

Nice Things You Can Do For Someone With Cancer

Background: WhatNext.com is an online support network developed in partnership with the American Cancer Society that helps help cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers gain firsthand insight into living with cancer and connect with others facing a similar diagnosis. Members of WhatNext.com are sometimes referred to as "WhatNexters."

Having cancer is hard and it is hard to keep up. With cancer treatments and care plans, everyday things like cooking and cleaning can fall through the cracks. Often times people will not ask for help, but that doesn't mean it is not wanted or needed. 

We recently asked WhatNexters to share the most meaningful acts of kindness they received from family, friends, neighbors, and strangers while they were going through treatment. If you are searching for ways you can support your friend or loved one, below are 23 great ideas from patients and survivors themselves to help inspire you! 

1. Take Over Everyday Chores and House Work

Clean For Someone With Cancer

via magnificentcleaning.com

"The best help was my friends who came for a few hours to clean our house, do our laundry, things that my husband didn't have time to do when he got home from work. It was very important to keep the rest of the family going on with their lives as best as possible and my friends enabled that to happen. My friends were my support group. They were always there via text, FB, phone calls. I printed out and created a journal of every text and email. When I had my down moments, I read the journal and it reminded me of my wonderful network of friends and family." - IKickedIt

"My daughter who lives a 1/2 hour away works full time in a different city than either of us and who also has 3 young children, she came to my house everyday after work when I was going through treatment. She would do the simple things that I couldn't do, put out the trash, clean the litter box and feed the animals, and bring in the newspaper and mail." - liznparadise

2. Do Yard Work

Yard Work For Someone With Cancer

via maureenshope.org

"I had people mow my yard, rake the leaves, shovel my snow, things I could not have done! There were times things were done by special "angels" because I never have known who did them!!! I live in an amazing small community that is full of loving and caring people!" - maralyn

"A little over 30 friends came to my house and did a backyard makeover, re-surfacing our deck, building three raised planter areas and installing a fire pit. How can you possibly pay that back? In return, I could only thank them." - po18guy

"My roof was getting old and started to leak when I was going through treatment. I had enough money from my tax refund for the material but not the labor. Some of the men from our church and their friends came to the house. They striped off the old roof and put on the new one." - Bonkers

3. Attend Doctor Visits or Cancer Treatments

Go To The Doctor With Someone

via caregiverstress.com

"If someone would have offered to take me to followup doctor visits that would have been helpful and supportive. That request would be more for emotional support than anything else. When I was waiting for test results, was in a lot of pain, and couldn't figure out why a second person going to the doctor with me would have helped me determine if the doctor was giving me the run around, mine was." - Id_05

4. Use Your Talents to Do Something Special

Hug Someone With Cancer

via google.com

"I ask whoever has the talent to help me. One of my friends loves to garden, I asked her to do some weeding for me. Another loves to cook healthy foods, I asked her to go to the health food store for me. My neighbor drives by my oncology building and I asked her to take me to an appointment one day. Another neighbor is an animal caretaker and she picks up pet food for me when she goes to the pet store. And I will have to say, every one of them is more than happy to do these things. I just wish I could find a friend who gives massages!" - banditwalker

"The best one was my from my best friend. She came to my home and re-did my entire king size bed with new linens, comforter, shams, pillows, etc. I was in bed so much that this very special gift was so uplifting to me. I was overwhelmed by her generosity and kindness." - Nhiggins

"I think about what I know about the person and try to match my needs with their gifts and talents. One time I asked my neighbor to make her great chocolate cake because I knew that would help." - MMarie

5. Watch Kids

Watch Cancer Patietns Kids

via lightathome.blogspot.com

"A woman who I have been friends with for about 6 months took care of my two little girls for a week when I ended up in the hospital with an infection. She has three kids of her own as well. I don't know what I would have done without her taking care of them." - Katesimsek

6. Travel to Spend Quality Time 

Visit Someone In The Hospital

via huffingtonpost.com

Even if you have to travel more than a few hours, people with cancer will notice that you are going out of your way to spend time with them and it will mean a lot more than you think.

"It wasn't just one person that helped a lot but my whole family spent time with me while I was in the hospital multiple times. Some would stay for a week, some for a few days, but there were only a couple of days out of a total of 8 weeks that none of them were there. They all had to travel at least 2 hours to get there, some of them 7 hours, and my sister 14 hours but they came anyway." - SherrySwett

7. Bring Dinner, Pre-Cooked Meals, or Groceries

Casserole For Cancer Patients

via recipe.com

"I have appreciated when someone has brought over a dinner we could eat that day/night or freeze for later. I get around to thinking about dinner right after my ill husband says... "What's for dinner?" and then I don't have time." - YQM

8. Give Rides to Treatment

Give A Ride To Treatment

via tampabay.com

"One of the many that I experienced was the group of my co-workers who put themselves on a list to drive me - to work, from work, and to and from radiation treatments - when I was on crutches and then a cane in the middle of winter. I had no idea that I was anymore than a name and a face but it was very surprising and opened me up to more meaningful relationships with them all." - RuthAnne

9. Pet Sitting

Pet Sitting For Someone With Cancer

via pressofatlanticcity.com

"It may sound silly but a friend took care of my dog to the point of sleeping with her when she experienced separation anxiety. That meant so much." - bjay

10. Run Errands

Run Errands For Someone With Cancer

via countryliving.com

"I was not able to care for myself at home very well so when friends asked what they could do, I would ask them to drop by the grocery store for some of their hot, ready-made soup, and to come have lunch with me. That got me through one meal, and a delivery of Meals-on-Wheels through another. I also asked friends to come over and take a walk with me - first only around one block, and gradually I worked up to woodsy hikes of several miles. I have also invited friends to watch Netflix movies with me when I have been home bound. During radiation treatments, I became too tired to drive myself there, and I asked friends to drive. Just helping with normal home care helps a lot." - melanomamama

11. Visit and Keep Things as Normal as Possible

Normal Hospital Visits Cancer

via livelaughlungs.blogspot.com

"I like when people would visit me, text me, or call me every now and then. It's nice having company when you're by yourself most of the time. Also, please talk to me about "other" things than just cancer and my treatment. After all, I am still the same person you knew prior to diagnosis and it would be nice to talk about music, movies, etc. A break from the "cancer world" is always welcome!" - Lirasgirl33

"At a time in my life where people seem to handle me with kid gloves, often not sure what to say, and often uncomfortable during conversations, I have two wonderful friends who have continued to treat me just like they always did before my diagnosis. No discomfort in my presence, no groping for the right words, just old friends having a chat. They tease me, they aggravate me, they keep me laughing, and I'm always happy after seeing or talking to either of them. I'm not sure that they understand how much it means to me to be treated normally." - stillkickin

12. Gift Box

Gift Bag For Chemo Patient

via gazette.com

"Some ladies from our church gave me a gift box with several gifts to open, 1 per day. The day I cut my hair off because it was falling out, I told my husband I thought that was a 2-gift day. He agreed and I opened 2 of the gifts that day. I could go on and on about the kindness that was shown to me." - Cindy

13. Lotsa Helping Hands

Lots A Helping Hands Picture

via lotsahelpinghands.com

"My friend Anne set up a a Lotsa Helping Hands™ caregiving coordination community (www.lotsahelpinghands.com). This was a surprise and amazingly helpful tool. 
You basically request your needs and any information you would like to share. I added all my diagnosis, status updates, my diet request, my doctor's visit dates and treatment plan, and the list goes on....You can invite friends and have a coordinator assigned on your behalf. You do not need to repeat the same stories; people ask you what you need or how are things going and you can simply direct them to this site." - cranburymom

14. Walk, Ride, or Run for their Cause

Ride For Cancer

via ymcatvidaho.org

"Close family friends of ours registered for a Breast Cancer bike ride in my honor. My daughter and I rode with them. They let us borrow a bike and equipment, which made the day such a memorable experience. I was still completing treatment and the accomplishment was a huge boost for me. It was a great day and we will ride together every year in support of breast cancer research and to celebrate being a survivor." - karenp

"My kids got a team going for Walk for Life. I had just started chemo and it was only one week before the event and we raised over $15,00.They made me very proud." - mama9

15. Help Set Up a Home Office

Home Office For Someone With Cancer

via webosaursexpert.com

Even if they feel like they don't know the person with cancer, co-workers can help in specific ways for example helping someone set up their home office, working overtime when they are too sick or tired, and giving up your sick days for them to have more time off.

"Some co-workers have set me up with a home office and flex time that allows me to work when I am up to it. Funny thing is I usually end up working a lot more than 40 hours since I have that office. My coworkers also covered for me with customers when I just couldn't get into a meeting." - oldgreycoach

16. Give Blood

Give Blood For Someone With Cancer

via fm.virginia.edu

"The most touching thing was the amount of people ready and willing to give blood at a moment's notice. Several people drove hours countless times to give and others were in line with their sleeves rolled up every time there was a blood drive." - SaraThomas11

17. Take Them Shopping

Head Wrap Via Designntrend.Com

via designtrend.com

"Nicest thing anyone did for me while I was on my cancer journey was when my sisters took me shopping for a wig and bought me clothes when I lost weight." - reddingfemale

18. Throw a Scarf Party

Throw A Scarf Party For Someone With Cancer

via mynothwest.com

"My husband threw me a surprise scarf party where everyone brought me a head scarf after I had shaved my head. It was very fun and meaningful." - stillkicken

19. Host a Cutathon

Host A Cutathon For Someone With Cancer

via nj.com

"My salon had a cutathon and gave us the profits just in time to save us financially." - JoLoaretti

20. Send Gift Baskets, Snack Packages, and Cards

Gift Basket For Someone With Cancer

via cancergifts.com

"When my mom was going through her journey, people that we didn't know would send us gift basket/snack baskets to the hospital when she was hospitalized." - Staci1219

21. Online Support Groups and Online Correspondence 

Emailling At Chemo

via alliparkey.blogspot.com

"I have a group of online friends. We've never met, but we've chatted for years on a support group board. Over the years, this group has helped several members as they or their spouses have gone through cancer and other traumas. When they'd see I had a crazy day, they'd order dinner delivered from a local restaurant in my area. They ordered frozen meals delivered from an online website. They ordered us a load of groceries when I didn't have time to get to the store. They sent my husband a hand-knitted shawl and a hat. They sent books and games to my kids. They sent me a charm that says "Faith, Hope, Love." It's still going on to this day. We got dinner gifted to us tonight after a particularly long and greuling day. They send me emails and find funny videos to cheer me up. It's an amazing group of women. They've never met me in real life, but they are awesome and strong and caring and kind!" - danellsar

22. Laughter

Laughing At Chemo

via mlive.com

When spending time with someone with cancer it may be helpful to remember that laughter can alleviate stress. Along with treating them as normal as possible, remember to laugh.

"The best thing people gave me was laughter. The day after my surprised diagnosis during a "routine" surgery, my rabbi came to visit (even though it was Saturday morning, when she was supposed to be at synagogue). She sat with me, sang to me, and most important, made me laugh when I thought I'd never laugh again. Since then, I've laughed a lot. That first laugh put me back on the road of the living." - abrub

23. Listen!

Listen To Someone With Cancer

via thegrieftoolbox.com

WhatNexters agree that listening is one of the most meaningful things you can do for them during their cancer journey. They need to vent, rant, or just talk about everyday things; they need to know that you are there to listen and ride out the storm with them.

"I just want people to listen to me! Sometimes, there is so much to get off your chest and you just need someone to listen. My friend, Karen, was my person to listen to me and didn't say things would be okay. She was just there to listen and to let me talk." - cllinda

If you've been diagnosed with cancer, take a minute to join the WhatNext community and find others near you who have been in your shoes. There’s no better way to get first-hand insights into living with cancer than by connecting with others who are currently doing just that.

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