I have always been overwhelmed by the stupidity of normal people when they hear the word cancer when referring to other people. They either turn into loud mouth idiots spouting uneducated and therefore unwanted advice, or they run for the hills and pretend the person with cancer no longer exists. I'm not saying everyone does this but an amazingly large number do. I'm not sure which is worse - the ones who run for the hills or the ones who give the bad advice.
But now we have an example of a person who is sensible and sensitive enough to ask 'what should I do to help my friend who is faced with cancer' and even wrote in to Annie's Mailbox. Basically the answer comes back as:
- treat them as you normally would
- expect a little more reticence than normal
- don't offer advice and try not to be patronizing 'I know how you must feel...'
And I like this reply. People with cancer are exactly that - PEOPLE with an ailment. Do you treat a friend with the flu any differently than one with cancer? You shouldn't.