How To Cope with Cancer when Family and Friends Go AWOL

How To Cope with Cancer when Family and Friends Go AWOL

How to Cope with Cancer – We’ve all heard the old saying in a time of crisis “we find out who our real friends are” and this seems so much more poignant following a cancer diagnosis. Acquaintances, friends and even family members can become very distant or totally disappear off the scene. However, for every sufferer and loved one, it’s vitally important to consider why this happens.

Cancer doesn’t affect just one person. Whilst in an ideal world everyone will be around to love and support you, this most definitely is not always the case. For some people, finding out their loved one has cancer is just too hard; to scary, to overwhelming for them to deal with. So what do they do? They withdraw into themselves, or simply disappear altogether.

It’s important to remember, this isn’t because they no longer love you…usually it happens because they love you so much that they don’t know how to handle it. They are terrified of doing something wrong; terrified that they won’t be able to help you; terrified of losing you. They become the proverbial Ostrich with their head in the sand.

Although easier said than done, please don’t hate them or beat yourself up anymore, because that’s not productive and will achieve nothing. Instead, let them know what exactly you need, and help them to appreciate your predicament, you’ve not changed, you’re just been extremely unfortunate and contracted an illness. If this doesn’t work, be strong, appreciate they can’t deal with it and get on with your life because, there are still many other support options available to you, where you can talk, express your feelings, gain knowledge and support from people on exactly the same wavelength as yourself, so search out those…


The internet is a marvelous place. There are so many online communities out there to help and support you that you need never feel alone. Whilst some are run by charities, others are run by people who have experienced cancer themselves. Sign up to one or two of these, and get involved. If you don’t have internet at home, it might be worth considering going down to your local library once or twice a week, or perhaps a coffee shop that offers free wifi.


If you are having a down day and need someone to talk to, then there are many support lines around that you can call. You will be able to speak to someone who has been specially trained in helping; someone who is not going to judge you or think badly of you. One of the most prominent support lines is run by Macmillan. They will be able to talk you through all sorts of things, from different types of treatments and side effects, to dealing with loss of family and friends.


Don’t shut yourself away. Don’t stay inside all the time, afraid to go out. This is one of leading causes of depression, and can be avoided by a trip out in the sun and the fresh air. A simply walk down to the park or to the supermarket can make so much difference, even if you have nobody to go with you. Take in the sights and the sounds, and remember that you are alive! Just because you have cancer, doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit. If you go out and try to continue your life as normal, then you will probably even find that your family and friends find it easier to be around you. It’s when you act the victim that they will find it hardest.

Whatever you do, don’t let the disappearance of your family or friends get you down too much. They are probably just having a difficult time in dealing with your news and your illness, and they will come to terms with it in their own time.

Mindset is so important when we are ill or suffering, The Cancer Survivor’s Toolkit and Care plan has been designed to specifically help cancer sufferers and their loved ones to work together on their cancer journey…

For more informative blog posts and to download the Free Cancer Survivors Guide, click here to go to The Cancer Survivors Toolkit website and discover how you or a loved one can gain the strength and courage you need to confront Cancer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>