Best way for friends to provide support?

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Question from Website Question: My best friend has Stage IV cancer, and has not had any success with chemo or radiation. The cancer keeps growing while she is being treated. She is going to apply for clinical trials. Hopefully, she will find something new that will reverse her situation. Her friends are her primary support system, and we find it difficult to maintain a hopeful, positive attitude all of the time. What is the best way for us to support her?
Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. The best approach is to let her take the lead. After having such a difficult time, it's only realistic for her to have feelings of pessimism and/or hopelessness. It is not helpful to try to wash that away with false wishes of optimism. She needs to be allowed to express her feelings, regardless of how difficult and painful they may be. While the situation sounds very difficult, you can maintain some hope that these clinical trials will provide some relief for her. It might be also helpful for this person to find a support group for patients with metastatic disease.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Family and Loved Ones featured Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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