Ideas to Uplift a Cancer Patient

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A spa night can uplift a cancer patient's spirits and help sooth her discomfort.
A spa night can uplift a cancer patient's spirits and help sooth her discomfort.

Being a cancer patient can be an incredibly lonely and isolating experience. Not surprisingly, strong social relationships increase survival chances by 50 percent, according to a 2009 study at Brigham Young University. In addition to the physical benefits of social connectivity, a supportive group of family and friends brings comfort and reassurance, even for those with terminal cancer. Uplifting a loved one with cancer requires thoughtful attention and an understanding of which activities provide comfort and enjoyment.

  1. Relax Together

    • Cancer patients, particularly those undergoing chemotherapy, can suffer from chronic exhaustion. The National Cancer Society recommends attempting at least 20 minutes of light exercise a day to promote healthy circulation and appetite. Bring a yoga DVD to the patient's house and offer to join her for a relaxation session. Even if neither of you has even done yoga, the meditative breathing will be calming and your friend will appreciate your company. If possible, try making the yoga routine a bi-weekly event between you and your friend. Having a standing event a few times each week will give her something to look forward. Be flexible; your friend may not always be able to honor social commitments due to doctor's appointments or other cancer-related conflicts.

    Cook Together

    • Many cancer patients suffer from weight loss. Preparing meals is difficult when cancer or chemotherapy causes lack of appetite and fatigue. Offer to cook at your friend's house, bringing the necessary ingredients to making her favorite nutrient-rich dish, such as vegetable lasagna or grilled steak and carrots. Make significantly more than you need and store the leftovers in the refrigerator for your friend to heat up later for herself or her family. Cancer patients are also often prone to nausea, so avoid cooking a dish that's fried or requires tons of butter. Your friend will enjoy spending time with you, eating dinner and having several nights of home-cooked food left in the refrigerator.

    Spa Treatments

    • Suffering from cancer, and possibly the effects of chemotherapy, is incredibly uncomfortable and can include side effects such as extremely dry skin, headaches, nausea and muscle cramps. To help alleviate some of her discomfort, get a group of friends together for a spa night at your friend's house. Assign each guest a spa item such as facial masks, pedicure tools, foot cream and essential-oil candles so your friend won't need to worry about preparing the spa items. Avoid anything with heavy scents or perfumes that could irritate her already-sensitive skin or induce nausea. Rotate hypoallergenic products between guests while your friend relaxes and enjoys toenail painting and foot massages. If you are able to spend more money, offer her a gift certificate for a professional massage or seaweed wrap. Call the spa beforehand and request hypoallergenic products. Explain that your friend has cancer and you want to minimize any skin reactions.

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  • Photo Credit Spa scenery image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com

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