How do you talk to someone who has cancer?

When someone close to you who has cancer starts to talk about the disease, do you change the subject? Do you stand in silence, worried that you’ll say the wrong thing? If so, you share these feelings with many others.

When talking with someone who has cancer, it is important to listen. Try to hear and understand how they feel. Don’t make light, judge, or try to change the way the person is feeling or acting. Try to put your own feelings and fears aside. Let them know that you are open to talking whenever they feel like it. Or if the person doesn’t feel like talking right now, that’s OK, too. You can offer to listen again later.

Here we will share some ideas on how to be supportive and helpful when you talk with someone who has cancer. You can learn how to make the person with cancer know that you are someone they can truly count on. We call this kind of communication “listening with your heart.”