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How to Ask for Support from Friends When Fighting Cancer: Revealed by Aussie Breast Cancer Survivor


VICTORIA, Australia November 2013 – According to a paper written by sociologists from Duke University and the University of Arizona, modern life has left each person in America with even fewer friends. The report states, “The number we count on as our closest friends – the ones with whom we discuss important matters – shrank over the past 20 years, from 3 friends to 2. At the same time, the number of Americans who had no one at all to confide in more than doubled, to 1 in 4.”

Australian breast cancer survivor Alexandra Stewart is familiar with this problem as she had to deal with the Big C and found herself wondering, “How to stay in touch with friends when you have cancer?” Alex, who is has since founded ‘Cancer Friends’ and created the iCare4u app says, “I started my business 2 years ago after my own experience with cancer and the realisation that my friends were the hidden fatality around cancer. I found through support groups that I was not the only person who had had friends and family disappear while having chemo. I wanted to provide information so others didn’t have to go through the same experience. I have since prepared free leaflets on how to support a friend with cancer for people to download and also printed booklets which are in cancer centres all over Australia”

Alex has written a book about her personal experiences in the hopes that she can provide support and help for those struggling with cancer and the loss of connection with friends. Her book is called ‘Friendships: The Hidden Victims of Cancer’. Alex says, “There are no other books like this in Australia. It addresses a problem that is rarely spoken about.”

Alex has two distinct messages for both the cancer patients and their loved ones.
For people diagnosed with cancer wondering how to stay in touch with friends while fighting cancer, this book means they will never have to explain to their loved ones how they can avoid making their experience harder for them. They can just hand over the book. There  are also exercises to help the cancer sufferer cope with their illness, and tips on how to ask for, and accept, the help they need.”

For friends and family of people with cancer, Alex says, “Even with the best intentions, you can do harm inadvertently. This book shows you what to say and what not to say to those dealing with illness. If you have never had cancer yourself, there is so much you cannot know. Take advice from someone who has been there, and be the sensitive friend you want to be.”

Discover how to support a friend with cancer and how to ask for support from friends when unwell at


 How to support a friend
 Cancer + friends
 Supporting cancer friends
 Friends with cancer
 Friends who are unwell

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