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Cancer Tips for Family, Friends, & Co-Workers

These cancer tips were written by Chris to help friends, family members and co-workers find the right words to say and ways to show support for a loved one at any stage of the cancer journey. 

1. Sometimes flowers aren’t the best. Patient’s immune systems may be compromised and living plants, flowers, and Spanish moss are not allowed. Look for alternative ways to say you care. Choose Hope, Inc. (1-888-348-HOPE or www.choosehope. com) has perfect gifts designed by patients for patients.

2. A “Healing Hands” shirt is a great way to show team support. Gather friends, family, co-workers or even pets together. Using fabric paint, have everyone place their handprints (or paw prints) on a T-shirt, sweatshirt, or a denim shirt. Personalization can be added by each print with a sharpie or laundry marker. A perfect way for the patient to be surrounded by their loved ones on treatment days.

3. Losing hair is a hard doubt about it! Have a hat party and invite your friends to each wear a hat, party hardy, and leave the hat for your friend. Hats should range from unique to practical.

4. Keeping in touch is important. Send cards, notes, banners, kids drawings, or any message of hope to show you care. I found receiving get well cards with the message “while you recover” to be very important in my healing.

5. Remember the family with food and treats. Find out family dietary needs and have one person schedule meals. Supply a meal approximately every three days. It was great to have my kids jump in bed with me and be able to offer them a homemade treat.

6. Gift certificates to area fast food/restaurants surrounding the patient’s clinic and hospital are very helpful.

7. Pretty new P.J.'s with front opening for IV access is essential. Throw in a pair of fuzzy slippers for added fun.

8. Cash is always helpful for miscellaneous family needs.

9. Themed gift boxes or baskets for the family are a great idea. For example: a movie basket filled with videos, video coupons, rootbeer, candy, popcorn, always fun. 

10. Arrange for help with laundry and housecleaning. Church groups or service groups are always willing to help when needed. Your friend’s job right now is to heal, not to be overwhelmed by day-to-day household chores.

11. Throw a surprise slumber party!  Make a date with your friend even if she is too tired to go out. Show up in jammies, cold cream, and curlers. Insist she does the same. Sweep her off to a friends house where you will eat junk food, play board games, and share laughs.

12. Seek out positive survivor stories and share them often with your friend. She/he needs to know that 8 million Americans are LIVING with cancer today.

13. Don’t assume the family needs or wants to be alone. Short visits can take the family’s mind off of everyday stress. Share laughs and make wonderful memories.

14. Stay connected. Nothing bothered me more than when I would hear “I kept tabs on you through so-and-so because I just didn’t know what to say”.  Remember simply saying “I’m here and I care” is better than nothing at all.


Choose Hope, Inc. is committed to supporting the cancer community. We want to help! That's why we're making this file available for download. However, we also have to pay close attention to how our brand and our materials are used in public. So before you download, please make sure you understand and agree to the following conditions. If you do not agree, do not download the file.


  1. The sheet you are about to download ("Cancer Awareness Ribbon ColorsCancer Color WheelCalendar of Cancer Awareness Months") is the copyrighted material of Choose Hope, Inc.
  2. "Choose Hope" and the Choose Hope logo are registered trademarks of Choose Hope, Inc.
  3. This is a license. It is nonexclusive and revocable. Your use of the file (and the sheet) is subject to all of its terms and conditions.
  4. You may not make any changes or modifications to the sheet.
  5. You may not remove or alter any branding, copyright or trademark notice appearing on the sheet.
  6. Our trademarks may never be used in any manner likely to cause confusion, disparage or dilute the Choose Hope brand and/or as indicators of source or endorsement for any product or service that is not authorized or supplied by Choose Hope, Inc.
  7. You may reproduce (in hard copy only), distribute (for no charge only) and publicly display the sheet, conditioned upon your compliance with these terms. Choose Hope, Inc. expressly reserves all other rights.
  8. Choose Hope, Inc. may revoke this license at any time, in its sole discretion.

Download Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors

Download Cancer Color Wheel

Download Calendar of Cancer Awareness Months