Cancer can be a long and emotional journey, but with this guide, How To Help A Cancer Patient, you can make a difference during their journey. This guide will help you learn how to encourage, share sorrows and joys and understand their needs.


How to comfort a cancer patient

We never prepare for a cancer diagnosis. One day, it just happens and having loved ones around us is the key to healing and hope. This guide will help you understand some ways you can be part of the support system for a patient. It’s a long emotional journey and they will need you throughout.

My cancer journey

When I was diagnosed with colon cancer, I was homeschooling our last two kids for their junior and senior years. Knowing what I was up against treatment wise, we decided to send our junior to private school. Our senior, Courtney,  decided to get her CNA license and stay home with me so she could be my caregiver through chemo, radiation, and several surgeries.

I believe she learned more about life and what she wanted to do as a career that year than she ever would have had she gone to school.  She did pick up where she left off the following year with a new perspective on life and how she would like to live her own.

Courtney wrote this list as part of a college class presentation she had to do.  It has wonderful tips from a caregiver’s perspective for helping close family and friends to acquaintances with cancer.

What you should say to a cancer patient

I think the best thing anyone said when I was first diagnosed was, “I’m here to walk this journey with you.” I didn’t need them to analyse the situation, as to why me, or to come up with the exact answer for treatment. I just needed them to walk with me daily. To be there as I made decisions, took treatments, felt awful and to rejoice when I rang the bell.

Why a cancer patient needs help

There are many phases of the cancer journey and your loved one will need you throughout.

  • Cancer diagnosis: They will need you emotionally at this point. Listen, pray with them, and reassure them you will be there for them throughout
  • Cancer treatment: This is when you will want to use this guide to find practical and physical ways to help during their uncomfortable days. It’s also a time to rejoice with them as you see progress in their treatments. Don’t forget to celebrate the little steps of healing during a cancer patient’s journey.
  • Life after treatment: Encourage them as they continue to heal their body after cancer treatments. The treatments are hard, and it takes a long time to heal from the very thing that rides your body of cancer. Help them create a healthy lifestyle of eating that will help keep cancer in remission.

My favorite nutrition books as a cancer patient

I would also encourage someone with cancer to drastically change their diet to help their body heal and beat cancer. Here are a few of my top choices that helped me beat stage 3 colon cancer.

How to help a family member with cancer

Start a meal train

Start a meal train. For complete details on how to do this see my post How To Start A Meal Train. It will show someone and their family that you care for them during their treatment time by being sure they are well-fed and don’t have to worry about cooking, meal planning, or grocery shopping.

Be sure and download the free meal train planner. There are sign-up sheets for participants, a questionnaire for the recipient, meal tags for the containers, allergy alert tags, and a special call tag to give with your name and number on if they need anything.

how to start a meal train people who need meals

Give gift cards for grocery stores and restaurants

Give them gift cards to a local grocery or restaurant. This helps take off a financial burden, making it easy for their family to pick up a meal.  

Give healthy snacks for treatment days

Doctors’ offices are always looking for a donation of snacks when people are getting chemo treatments. Often, the snacks in doctors’ offices lean more on the side of junk food such as chips, candy bars, and soda.  Take in healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, diet ginger ale, and natural juices.

Care package for cancer patient treatment day

Fill a pretty bag with books, puzzle books, and magazines to take to the doctor’s office. Some chemo treatments can take 5 or more hours. Having something special to do helps the time pass and keeps your mind off of the treatment.

Give a cancer patient a copy of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Cancer. Piper shares with the reader how Christians are called to respond when cancer invades their lives, whether in their own bodies or those of a friend or family member.  Piper gently but firmly acknowledges that we can indeed waste our cancer when we don’t see how God’s good plan is for us and a hope-filled path for making much of Jesus. 



Help a cancer patient with nausea

Give small gifts that will help during times of nausea. Peppermint lotions, peppermint candles, and ginger candies are helpful on days they feel nauseous. Ginger and peppermint tea or ginger gum is also helpful for nausea.  

You can also make homemade juices that help with nausea. Print the recipe and tie it to a quart jar full of juice.

Try my Green Juice Recipe To Kick Nausea

green juice in glass

For more anti-nausea drinks be sure and look through my post 25 Drinks That Help With Nausea

drinks to help nausea

Juice to fight cancer

I personally juiced for a year as I went through treatments to give my body every chance to be strong and fight cancer in my body. Juicing is a messy and time-consuming job. I had a dear friend juice for me and brought jars to stock my refrigerator during my really bad days. My family also took turns preparing my juice and storing it in jars, so all I had to do was pour it and go back to bed.

Crazy Sexy Juice: 100+ Simple Juice, Smoothie & Nut Milk Recipes to Supercharge Your Health

I went through several juices because I worked them so hard. Here are two that are winners in my book.

Offer to do housework

Offer to clean their house and do laundry. If they feel uncomfortable having you do it, hire a service to come in and help. This eases a big burden when a person does not feel good and allows them to rest. 

Again I would suggest using cleaning products that are soothing like Mrs Meyers Peppermint Kitchen Basics Bundle

Make special homemade gifts for a cancer patient

If you are crafty, you can make all kinds of items that will help a cancer patient.  Chemo makes a patient unable to tolerate cold, so knitted hats, scarves, or gloves are good choices. You could also use a Card Making Kits and send cards with prayers and thinking of you thoughts in them. Many people are alone and could use some encouragement during the day.


Give a LEATHER JOURNAL. Cancer patients can journal their thoughts, write prayers out, events, and milestones as they go through treatments, which will help emotionally during their cancer journey. 

Be available

Let a cancer patient know you are there if they need to talk. Don’t tell them just once, but remind them throughout their treatments. Mail them cards periodically to let them know you are praying for them. 

Remind them

Put up HEART STICKY NOTES in your home to remind you to pray for someone you know going through cancer treatments.  Pray for their healing, emotional state of mind, their family, and that they would be drawn even closer to their Lord.  

Medical expenses

Another good idea for helping cancer patients is to organize a fundraiser to help ease the financial burden of cancer. There are so many little things that add up that insurance will not cover.  Gather friends and have a large yard sale. Be sure and ask for extra donations for the cause at the check out table.

You can also start a Go Fund Me page and share it with other friends and family so they can help too.