Dialog Box

Rare Cancers Australia

Your support network

Talking about your needs, and asking for help

Once you have a handle on the information you need about your diagnosis, you might have people asking you how they can help. Sometimes it is hard to know how to respond.

Asking for help is not considered burdensome or ‘weak’ and having clear expectations with family and friends helps alleviate any stress that may  be caused by things like unannounced visitors or people not respecting boundaries. Check out this list of ways to help people help you and get the most out of your support network: 

  • Be as clear as possible about what you would like people to do/not to do for you.
  • Encourage conversation about topics involving cancer, but let people know it’s ok to talk about something else.
  • Encourage plans to be made with friends or family.
  • Please ask people to respect your decisions and be mindful that you might not always be in the headspace for company.
  • Allow for sadness. People will want to be empathetic and share your concerns. Don’t ignore uncomfortable topics or feelings.
  • If you need assistance, ask people to help you organise your appointments, medical records, resources and relevant information.
  • Put friends and family in their comfort zones and utilise their strengths to support you. If you have a friend or loved one that can advocate for you and get the best outcome, ask them to help you. If you know someone that is a good cook, ask them to prepare a meal for you.
  • Ask someone to join you in going to a support group, or providing transport if you can’t drive/have mobility issues.
  • Find someone that might be available to attend appointments with you. Often dealing with a diagnosis can trigger immense anxiety, or the ‘flight, fight, freeze’ response so your ability to absorb and retain information can be limited. Having someone else with you can sometimes mean and key information is not lost.
    (Our CAN.Recall App is also a great solution for this)

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