Video: Ways You Can Help A Friend Who Is Having A Mastectomy

Having a mastectomy is understandably traumatic. Here are some practical suggestions on how to help your friend during their mastectomy journey

  • Be a good listener
  • Drive her/him to appointments (yes men get mastectomies too!)
  • Be your friends note taker at medical appointments
  • Help to clean up their living space
  • Distract your friend with little surprises
  • Help pack things needed for the hospital
  • Be their workout mate
  • Volunteer to keep other family members and friends updated on the surgery and recovery progress
  • Make the ride home after mastectomy surgery a smooth one
  • Care for their kids
  • Help the caregiver
  • Buy an appropriate and useful gift
  • Offer to provide company
  • Help your friend feel normal
  • Be available
  • Be willing to help
  • Follow your friend’s personal page
  • Do not ask too many questions
  • Listen with your heart
  • Help them feel normal
  • Send them notes or card
  • Keep in check, Keep in touch
  • Support their emotional health

You also need to watch what you say

As well as your actions its also important to be aware of your words. Here are a few thigs NOT to say.

But you didn’t have cancer?

It might be what you are thinking but a large proportion of people are now having mastectomies as a precaution and a comments like this can sometimes downplay their experience. Choosing to have a preventative double mastectomy is a very hard and life changing decision and sometimes it can feel belittling to point out that there was no cancer, are you saying there was no need for this? In fact the opposite is usually true.

It’s a free boob job

There is a world of difference between elective cosmetic surgery and removing a breast to reduce your risk of, or to remove, a life-threatening condition. In addition, breast removal is a much more complicated surgery with possible nipples and lymph node removal. These things people would not choose to do for vanity.

You’re too young to have breast surgery

Cancer does not discriminate against age and there is no good response to this statement. In addition, if someone is electing to have preventative breast removal it makes sense to get this done as early as possible, before any chance of cancer starting.

Further reading

Ideas for helping

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