how can I support my sister without being over bearing

Im struggling to know how to be there for my sister as I dont want to be over bearing an I dont want it to be all about the cancer if that makes sense?! Sounds silly but I just keep wanting to text her an buy her gifts probably due to the fact im feeling guilty that im clear an healthy! I would appreciate any advice

Hello Clewer

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June, moderator

Hi clewer. So sorry to hear about your sister. I was in the same situation with my best friend. I actually just asked her what she needed from me. Her reply was ‘just be normal’! She didn’t want the fuss, or gifts, or extra help… Instead we took the Mickey out of the situation. Ie, if she said something inappropriate , We’d say 'oh that was just the chemo!", if she asked for another glass of wine… It would be because she was on chemo…, another chocolate??.. Of course, that was purely for medicinal purposes! Everyone is different I know, but I’m sure your sister wouldn’t want you to act any differently to normal. You ARE her normality in this confusing and scary world she’s now living in


My sister had BC five years ago, now I have it, so I can see both sides of the coin.

When my sister was having treatment, I would text during the day then ring and visit when I could. Just making contact so she knows you are always there. I also kept in touch with her daughter, which I know was a great help to her to know if she wanted to talk she could always speak to me too.

A touch, a word or a hug means far far more than presents, save those for the ‘down’ days.

Take care of each other and Good Luck

Thank you so much for your comments its actually made me aware I have felt like I need to buy her things in an attempt to show her im there which I can now see is the wrong way! I have kind of followed her lead an made light of the situation joking ect. I realise now the best thing is like you’ve said to be normal. I have been ill myself with cold, cough so havent been able to see her which altho im doing the best thing for her im finding very difficult. With chemo you cant see them with any bug or ailment can you? Once again thank you!

i have just read some of the threads on your forum about a lady wishing to support her sister through breast cancer without being overbearing. Well I am in the same situation, my sister was diagnosed before  christmas, following a mammogram. She had a biopsy 3 weeks ago and  following an appointment with her specialist last week is now facing a mastectomy next week. she is facing up to this very bravely and I  too feel guilty as I am healthy, but i have realised that this attitude will not help her. Acting normally around her and being there for her will, hopefully get her through this tough time. Although the advice was not aimed at me, it is very much appreciated. Thank you! 


Hi, I’m in the same boat as you, my sister had surgery yesterday and I just don’t know what to say or do…
I’m her big sister, I’m meant to look out for her and I just feel like I’m failing her…