When a person is sick with cancer, what do we do to them? Do we avoid them completely? Or worse, do we ignore their disease? Here’s what to say to a coworker who has cancer.
What will I learn?
No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer. Many patients report that coworkers treat them as if they have a contagious disease.
What To Say To A Coworker Who Has Cancer – 10 Suggestions
What do you say when someone you work with is diagnosed with cancer? Do you avoid talking about it at all costs because your friend doesn’t want to talk about it?
Or worse, do you act like someone hasn’t just gone through one of the worst things imaginable?
Be a kind person, and say these 10 comfort words to your colleague who has cancer:
1. “How Are You Feeling?”:
When someone tells you they have cancer, it’s not the time for pleasantries. Sometimes people avoid asking too many questions.
They don’t want to make the person feel like you are interrogating them or treat them like a sick person.
That’s what happens when people avoid bringing up cancer in conversation.
2. “I’m So Sorry”:
There’s a fine line between saying something and saying too much. Understanding is essential for a colleague.
If you work with someone who has cancer, chances are they’re going to need your support at some point during their treatment.
Don’t hesitate to tell them exactly how sorry you are.
3. “How Can I Help?” – What To Say To A Coworker Who Has Cancer:
It is such a considerate thing to ask – not just for people who have cancer, but also for anyone in general!
Sometimes it feels like no one cares about your emotional or physical needs, which can be hard.
If you know someone who has cancer and asks for help from the people around them, then try offering help. Please do not ignore what they’re going through.
4. “Are You Getting Enough Sleep?”:
It’s easy for people to focus on their coworker who has cancer and forget everything else.
However, if someone has cancer, they can’t always work as efficiently as before!
If you notice your colleague gets a lack of sleep, consider asking them if there’s anything you can do to help them rest.
5. “Do You Need More Support Around The Office?”:
We don’t want to admit it, but we all need support now and then, including those with cancer!
Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues if their coworkers are being supportive enough!
Sometimes people say hurtful things without realizing what they’re doing. If someone has cancer, you don’t want to make it harder on them.
6. “How Do You Feel About Your Treatment?” – What To Say To A Coworker Who Has Cancer:
It’s normal for people to feel upset about their treatment. Sometimes talking it out with a trusted friend can help!
Sure, not everyone wants to talk about their illness all the time. However, it is a great question because it shows that you care and want to know how they’re doing.
7. “Can I Bring Something For You?”:
Bringing someone a meal or a snack is a nice way to show them some support. Food tastes better when you have company!
If you live nearby your coworker who has cancer, consider cooking or going out for food.
This way, they’ll have something to eat while they are battling this awful disease.
8. “I’m Here For You” – What To Say To A Coworker Who Has Cancer:
Sometimes people feel so alone when they have cancer. You can be the person who helps them realize that’s not true!
People with cancer need friends to lean on for support. You could tell your colleague how much you care about them.
Letting them know you are there for them makes a huge difference. Sometimes all someone needs is a shoulder to lean on.
9. “How Can I Be More Helpful?”:
Even if someone has cancer right now, that doesn’t mean it’ll always be this way! It’s understandable if your coworker is sad or upset about their diagnosis.
They may need some help getting back into work mode. Don’t forget about all the other things in life besides cancer!
Consider asking them what kind of support would make a difference to them.
10. “Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help” – What To Say To A Coworker Who Has Cancer:
People with cancer might not come right out and ask for help, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it!
Sometimes it’s hard to be vulnerable and admit what we’re going through.
Consider asking your colleague if you can do anything to make their life a little easier. Having cancer isn’t easy.
The only way to get through this tough time is by having people who care about you on your side.
How To Comfort Your Coworker Who Has Cancer
Now you know the different things to say to a cancer coworker. It’s time to go out there and do something nice for your colleagues!
A personal touch goes a long way in supporting someone who has cancer. Here’s what you can do:
1. Offer To Bring Food:
Cooking a meal or going out for food is a great way to support someone who has cancer!
It can be something as simple as baking them a cake because it’s nice to know people care about you.
Even if money is tight because of medical bills, ask your coworker what they would like. Start going out for food together! It’ll make their day even better.
2. Clean Their Office For Them:
Cancer isn’t just a disease that affects your body – it also affects your life outside of work!
If your colleague is too tired from chemotherapy or radiation, why not clean their office?
You could bring over some cleaning supplies. Give the place a deep clean so that they come back to a nice and tidy space.
3. Keep Them Company Outside Of Work:
You might not be able to do much for your coworker who has cancer besides being there for them, but it still means a lot!
If you notice that your colleague is homebound because of this awful disease, check in on them from time to time?
Having someone visit their house or coming by with food is a great way to ensure they don’t feel alone.
And even if your coworker doesn’t want to talk about cancer, knowing you’re there can make a difference.
4. Offer To Help With Errands:
If someone has cancer, they might not have a lot of energy left after going through treatment.
And even if your colleague is feeling okay during the day, they don’t want to leave their house.
It can be hard to know where to go for groceries or basic supplies when you don’t feel well.
Asking them which errands they would like help could make all the difference. Make sure they’re taking care of themselves.
5. Organize A Poker Night Or Other Event:
Is there something at work that your coworker who has cancer enjoys? If so, consider organizing an event that brings people together!
Maybe you could host a game night or invite everyone over for drinks. It can be something that gets people in the office together.
Don’t worry if you can’t do much to help them with their cancer. Support is something that helps people during a hard time in their life.
6. Be Mindful Of Their Needs:
It’s okay if you’re nervous about talking to your colleague who has cancer! They might not want to spend a lot of time thinking about it, even if they appreciate your support.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for helping someone through cancer. What matters most is keeping an open line of communication.
Check in on how they’re doing and identify different ways you can help them during this tough time.
7. Ask If There Is Anything You Can Do:
Your coworker with cancer might not know what kind of support they need. That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate your concern!
One of the best things you can do for someone who has cancer is to ask them what they need. It shows that you’re attentive and care about their needs.
If your colleague isn’t sure how to answer, coming over with food for them is great. You can ask if there’s anything else you can do
8. Invite Them To Join A Support Group:
If your coworker has cancer, consider inviting them to join a support group!
There are tons of groups where people meet other survivors and share their experiences. Even if your colleague doesn’t want to talk about cancer, this would be good for them.
It can be a nice way to connect with others who understand what they went through.
9. Don’t Worry About Saying The Wrong Thing:
There’s no such thing as a “wrong” way to talk about cancer. Even if you didn’t go through something like this, that doesn’t mean your words won’t be meaningful!
Everyone has their way of dealing with a disease. It can feel invalidating when people try to advise knowing how someone feels.
So while talking about cancer might make you nervous, don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. Your coworker will appreciate that you asked enough to care.
10. What To Do For A Coworker Who Has Cancer – Keep It Light If You Can:
Cancer is a heavy subject. However, you don’t have to treat every conversation like an information session!
Sometimes laughing and joking around over work-related subjects can be a nice change. It can keep the mood light and uplifting.
Just don’t forget that your coworker might not always feel like they should be smiling. Therefore, know when to wrap up the conversation.
Supporting someone who has cancer is as personal as it gets. There isn’t a set of steps you can follow that guarantees they’ll feel better about their disease.
Some people prefer to do most things independently and keep to themselves. But, some people appreciate having someone stick by them and check in on how they’re doing now and then.
And no matter what kind of coworker you have, showing that you care will always make a difference.
Last Updated on 1 year by Shahzaib Arshad
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