Breast cancer: Coping with grief when you lose someone

Losing someone to cancer is a devastating experience. The Susan G. Komen Foundation ( has reported that one in three women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. When someone you know passes from breast cancer, here are some things you can do to help with the loss and keep her memory alive.

Breast cancer walk

1Get active

There are many ways to give back to the organizations that support breast cancer research. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is one that is internationally recognized. You can participate in their Race for the Cure by running, volunteering to help out with the race or financially support the event. Look to your community for organizations that support breast cancer research, families of women with breast cancer and survivors. Often these organizations survive on donations and volunteers. If a certain organization helped your loved one during their life, consider donating directly to them.

2Attend a support group

Most communities have cancer support groups or organizations centered on cancer support for individuals and families affected by cancer. Find a group and attend a grief group. If you are not comfortable attending a group in person, there are also many on-line support communities. Use the search terms “losing a friend to cancer.”


Grief is a process, not a destination with an ending. Often during holidays or birthdays we are reminded of our loss. Make sure to take care of yourself during these times of the year. Do something in honor of your friend or partner. Take a walk, get a massage, call someone and share your stories of the person that is gone. You can even create a collage of pictures or magazine pictures that remind you of your loved one. If there are children who have survived the loss of a loved one, help them by creating a picture or an object that they can carry with them or wear during difficult times.You can bring it out during the harder times to help you remember the good times.

Many people who lose a friend or family member to cancer are hesitant to reach out for support. If you or someone you know is having a hard time getting over the loss of a loved one, contact a professional for support. If your grief is getting in the way of your daily functioning, you may need more help in processing your grief. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. The chance of you knowing someone who has been diagnosed or who has died from breast cancer is high. Know that you are not alone!

More on breast cancer

Breast cancer awareness: 12 More ways to think pink!
Surviving breast cancer: Regain control of your body
What happens after a breast cancer diagnosis?


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