What to Do When a Friend Is Dying of Cancer

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When a friend is dying of cancer, be sensitive to the friend's feelings, let them know you will be there for anything they need, and get the appropriate help that you need to process the possible death of a friend. Avoid being pushy, and try to respect the desires of a friend dying from cancer with advice from a psychologist in this free video on friendship and death.

Part of the Video Series: Friendships & Relationships
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Reka Morvay, I'm a psychologist and I'm going to talk to you today about what to do if a friend is dying of cancer. If your friend is dying of cancer then the best thing you can do is to try to be sensitive to what they need because they will probably be undergoing A, not only a whole bunch of physically uncomfortable and frightening medications and treatments, but they will also be struggling with the knowledge that they will have to die soon. So try to be sensitive to their needs but try to be there. Let them know that if they need you in any way then you're going to be there and you're going to be there for them and then try to make sure you actually follow through. It doesn't matter how trivial it seems if a person who's dying has a request of you, then try to make sure that you follow through with it to the best of your ability. Now another thing that's very important is that having a friend facing death is going to be very traumatic for you as well. So try to make sure that you too get the help that you need to be able to process the fact that you are going to be losing this friend. So try to educate yourself about the type of cancer that your friend has and what it means and the types of treatments that he or she is getting so that you are able to talk to them if they wanted to talk about these treatments. At the same time don't be pushy so maybe they want to talk to you about it but maybe they don't. Maybe they need you to be feel connected to the life that used to be. So not always talking about what's wrong and all the medical problems but maybe they want to kind of have the sense of normalcy with a friend that they used to have before they got sick.

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