A note about cancer and holidays: If you have friends or family who have cancer or had cancer, make sure you treat them extra special. Even those who are done with treatment struggle a lot with energy levels. They may not have the energy to stand in lines at the mall or gift wrap everything nicely. Their gifts might be late or they may resort to just buying gift cards. When cancer strikes , holidays can feel like a burden. If you want to buy them gifts, do consider their situation. Service gifts are excellent like cleaning service gifts, gift certificates to restaurants or their favorite pizza place, hair salon etc. Sometimes, when struggling with energy its hard to deal with handling gifts at all.
Offer to take them out for lunch or breakfast. Offer a day of friendship. Not all gifts are sold at the mall.
Help out with their home, or tree clean up after the holidays.
With cancer, its the gift of time that is most valuable.
Not all cancer patients need cookies and chocolates. A lot of women struggle with weight during cancer treatments. A tower of chocolates or cookies may be the last straw. If in doubt, ask the recipient if there is something they would really like.
If you have them over, be considerate of what they may or may not be able to eat. Again ask if they are having any side effects or food that they can no longer tolerate.
A little consideration and caring goes a long way in strengthening loving relationships.
Many cancer survivors deal with sadness and depression around holidays and fears about the next year. Be patient with them. They may not be feeling the holiday cheer. Don’t push them to feel happy either neither guilt them to feel grateful. Allow them the space to grieve if they need to.
Dealing with Cancer around holidays is complex and exhausting.
All they need is to know that you care and gifts aren’t the only way to show that.
Have a very blessed holiday season.
Uzma Yunus


  1. Very thoughtful post. It is hard for anyone to understand what cancer does to the body and to the mental state of the patient unless you have been there. Thank you for the post specially around this time of the year.

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