Your first instinct might be to say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” or “How can I help?” Unfortunately, this often elicits a response of ‘I’m good’ or “nothing for now.” A better way may be to be clever and offer something specific, like ‘can I do your food shopping’ or ‘can I pick up your kids from their play date?’ Perhaps you can babysit the grandchild while your friend goes to the doctor. Or just cook dinner without being asked. Maybe just taking your friend for a walk outside. You won’t find out if you don’t ask.
Another good way to offer support is to listen. Listen to what is being said about how they feel physically. Are they in pain? Are they suffering from gastrointestinal issues? However, just as important, if not more so, is to ask ‘how are you feeling mentally? Are you anxious or nervous or scared? Do you want to talk about it?’. This information could be useful to the healthcare team.