How can I help someone with cancer?

How can I help someone with cancer?

We care about our mob and helping them through times of sickness is something we like to do. You might know someone who’s got cancer or is being tested for it. You feel that you want to help and wonder what the best way is? Here are some things you could do:

Ask how you can help

There are lots of ways you can help someone on their cancer journey. Ask them if you can help and what they might like help with.

Let them know you can be with them if they need. You can help them by being together, encouraging their spirit, talking about Country and culture and mob, and having a good yarn. Spending time on Country with them and engaging in family and cultural activities is another way to show them you care.

Show them you care by being practical, too. Lots of people help mob with cancer by cooking meals, looking after kids, odd jobs and maintenance around the house or doing some cleaning. You might be able to take them to appointments, drive them to the shops or do some shopping for them. Helping with finances or planning for the future might help, if they want it. Some people want help telling other people what’s going on, sending messages around.

If you can’t be with the person, you can use the phone to ask how they are, tell them you love them and care about them and that they are in your thoughts.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is to listen, and to just be there for them.

If you can’t think how to be there for a loved one, and feel scared yourself, let them know and you can work it out together.

Taking care of yourself

It is important that you take care of yourself, too.

Your loved one going through the cancer journey might be worried about you. They might tell you they want you to have tests and get checked. Or, that they don’t want you doing too much, if you have your own lives, kids and others to look after. They will want you to take care of yourself too. Show them you respect what they say. Some of these things can help:

  • talking about any worries you have with your doctor, your nurse, your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker
  • yarning with our family and mob about how you feel
  • keeping up with your own life – life with family, work and mob
  • spending time on Country and staying connected to culture
  • eating good food to keep your energy up
  • getting plenty of sleep
  • getting some exercise.

Life with and after cancer


Where can I get help and support?