We’ve all heard the statistic that one out of every eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. This is more likely to occur in old age, but we must stay healthy to prevent the disease in younger ages.

While woman number 8 may get breast cancer, what do women 1 through 7 do? These women are likely to have had family or friends face breast cancer or some other form of cancer. How can these women help their family member or friend during cancer treatment? Below we give some key advice on being a cancer caregiver and friend.

What to bring

When your loved one is either in the clinic receiving chemotherapy treatment all day or in the hospital recovering for several days, you should help them out by bringing a change of clothes, a warm hoodie, and some comfortable pajamas. Be sure they have a change of clothes every day and, if they’ve lost their hair, bring them a hat to keep warm.

How to help around the house

Your friend or family member will likely have a low-functioning immune system during chemotherapy treatment. This means they will need a clean house free of bacteria. If you have the time, help them out by cleaning their house especially the bedroom and kitchen.

They’ll need clean bed sheets every few days and the bathroom will also need regular cleaning. Be sure to wipe down the counter tops in the kitchen, dust the house, and vacuum the floors every couple of days.

What to cook for cancer patients

One of the biggest ways you can help your family or loved one is by cooking meals for him or her as well as his or her family. Cancer patients often have little appetite but it is vital to keep their weight up. As such, you’ll need to figure out which foods they’re able to eat and which ones end up making them nauseous.

Usually, soft foods are easier to eat during chemotherapy treatment. This means you should consider cooking some mashed potatoes, spaghetti, and plenty of vitamin-packed vegetables. Cooking some soups could also be a great idea such as butternut squash soup or chicken noodle soup. If you bring them fruit to munch on, be sure it is well-washed.

Meats may be difficult for your loved ones to keep down, so you might want to make some delicious smoothies with protein powder during the more difficult days for your loved one. Snacks are also appreciated by cancer patients. You might want to pick up some crackers, nuts, or pretzels and bring them when your friend or family member is in the hospital.

There you have it. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the seven out of eight women who don’t get breast cancer, you can use these tips to help take care of the ones that do.

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