Do you know someone with ovarian cancer? The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019, about 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 14,070 women will die of ovarian cancer in the United States. It accounts for 2.5% of cancers in women. The moment you find out that a loved one has ovarian cancer, you experience a wide range of emotions. For me, my natural reaction to hearing of this news from a friend was one of “HOW CAN I HELP YOU?” I knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. Hopefully these suggestions will comfort and assist your loved one as they journey through this difficult season.
- Lend an ear. Allow her to talk about her cancer. If she needs to talk, be a good listener.
- Offer an encouraging touch or hug. Trust me, those go a long way in comforting someone.
- Educate yourself on ovarian cancer. This website has some great resources.
- If your loved one doesn’t live close to you, call / text / email her and check up on her.
- Encourage her to continue community with friends and loved ones and to not isolate herself, but know her limits and when she needs to rest.
- Help her with errands. Does she need groceries? Her car washed? Walking her dog? Although these tasks are small, they can make a huge difference. This website is a great resource for organizing meals and tasks. Basic features are free, and if you want more, it’s only a small fee of $10 to utilize the other features.
- Go with her to her doctor and treatment appointments. If she has children, offer to babysit.
- Give gifts! Gift her one of her favorite magazines to take to her chemo appointments or some fuzzy slippers to wear around the hospital or house. Is she losing hair from chemo? Some cute scarfs to cover her head can be helpful.
- If you are sick, STAY AWAY. A cancer patient’s immune system is not at it’s best, especially if they are undergoing chemotherapy. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Donate your hair in her name. Organizations like Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids offer wigs for individual who experience hair loss due to chemotherapy.
- Wear teal. Teal is the universal color for ovarian cancer. Kind of like how pink is symbolic for breast cancer. You can even do a teal t-shirt fundraiser and donate the money to an organization of her choice.
These are just some suggestions on how you can be there and help your loved one during this season of their life. If you have walked through ovarian cancer with someone, what would you add to this list?