Finding out that your friend or loved one is diagnosed with cancer is truly hard news to take, especially when you are far away. When you live in another city or state, you might feel worried, helpless, and you might think there’s nothing you can do. But there is. Your friend or loved one will need you now more than ever, and you can’t let the miles between you stop you from giving valuable support. 

See, there are many things you can do to show just how much you care. Here are the best ways on how to support someone with cancer from afar.

5 Ways on How to Support Someone with Cancer from Afar

1. Staying In Touch

The emotional support from friends and family brings comfort to anyone facing such a trying time. Knowing that you are there for her no matter how far you are from each other is incredibly helpful. So consider regular phone calls, messages, emails, or video calls. This will let your friend know that you care and that you would want to be involved. More importantly, it can boost her spirits.

  • Send a Text – You can text her simple and short messages. Try to send one on treatment days, important tests, or follow-up appointments. While this may seem small, it can make a big difference in stressful times.


  • Write a Letter – A handwritten note or letter is a very thoughtful gesture, especially today that we are in the age of text messages and emails. Taking the time to write a letter and then mailing it is a great way to show you care. Plus, unlike emails and texts, this can be put on display. It can serve as a reminder that you are thinking about her and that you wish her well. 


  • Video Call with her – Just because you are hundreds of miles away from each other doesn’t mean you can’t be “there”, especially now that there’s Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, and other platforms that allow you to talk and see each other in realtime. Constant video chatting or calling will let you stay up to date with her treatments, progress, and feelings. Thus, you can respond when she needs help the most. 

If you’re worried about the things you have to say or not say while video chatting, try to think of other activities you enjoy doing together. For instance, if you both like the same shows or movies then you can watch them at the same time. See, it’s okay not to focus on talking about her condition. Besides, many patients don’t like talking about cancer all the time. 

2. Send Thoughtful Gifts

You can also show your support by sending little gifts that your friend or loved one can enjoy. For example, you can send CDs, books, novels, magazines, adult coloring books, or anything that can serve as a distraction during chemotherapy sessions. You can also send a gift basket or care package that includes items that she might need during her cancer journey.  Help Them Fight offers lots of ideas for gifts for cancer patients.

3. Figure Out What is Needed

See, there is always something you can help with even from afar. To find out what you can do exactly, talk to your friend or her primary caregiver. Together, you can see where you will fit perfectly and what role you can play. Since you won’t be able to cook for her or look after her kids, you can arrange professional help instead. 

You can do the grocery shopping online or over the phone and get them delivered to her house. You can suggest paying for transportation costs since you can’t drive her to hospital visits. Or since you’re too far to babysit, you can pay for child care. You can also arrange meal deliveries from a local restaurant. Plus, you can arrange for a professional service company to clean her home. All these not only show just how willing you are to help but they are also great assistance financially. 

4. Be Ready to Travel 

Take the chance to cut the distance and consider using your vacation or holiday weekend to visit your friend or loved one. You can spend your time together doing the things you both enjoy. However, don’t try to come in and control everything. Instead, you can help with some practical chores around the house, especially the ones she can’t or would rather not do. 

5. Be Consistent

Cancer is a brutal roller coaster ride of emotions for anyone diagnosed with it. One day, she may be feeling positive and happy. This can quickly change overnight, depending on how she is feeling physically and what challenge there is for tomorrow. But if you are there and continue to be a constant presence in her life, you can become a steady influence that can help her get through the toughest times.