How to support someone with breast cancer
How To Support Someone With Breast Cancer

How To Support Someone With Breast Cancer

Dana Donofree
5 min read

When someone in your life has been diagnosed with breast cancer, knowing what to say or how to help can be extremely difficult. We know you don't want to say the wrong thing. We know you want to do what you can to help them. And we know you are probably asking yourself, "what can I get them to show them that I care?" 

You came to the right place, because AnaOno knows exactly how to support supporters. 

Our team and community are full of experts in everything you might possibly need to give to the person in your life with breast cancer, so you can be the most supportive partner, family member, friend, or co-worker as possible. First, we want to thank you for taking the time to read this article. By making time and space for this information, you are already taking the first step in being the most supportive carevivor as possible. Let's dive in…


To be frank, cancer is expensive AF. Surgeries, treatments, prescription medication, doctor visit co-pays...the list goes on and on. Not to mention missing pay to take time off work to undergo these expensive surgeries and treatments. The cost alone is enough to make anyone's head spin. An easy way to help someone you care about off-set the cost of their cancer is actually a lot easier (and more practical) than most people realize.

Meal + Cleaning Services

When someone has cancer, doing basic things like preparing meals, going grocery shopping, or cleaning the house becomes difficult if not impossible at times. Paying for a month of meal delivery or cleaning services can be a HUGE HELP to the person in your life who is going through surgery and treatments. Consider using a service such as Meal Train to get other friends and family members to commit to covering meals. With the basics taken care of and their families fed, they will be able to focus on the most important thing: healing. 

Some other ways to support a breast cancer patient through daily tasks include:

  • Walking the dog or hiring a dog-walking service
  • Periodically mowing the lawn
  • Pulling weeds and tending the garden
  • Taking the car for service or an oil change
  • Picking up kids from school and taking them to sports or activities
  • Going grocery shopping and restocking snacks
  • Helping them do their hair or nails

Recovery Essentials 

There are a lot of essential items that make healing from mastectomies, lumpectomies and other breast surgeries much easier. Let's start with the basics:


The right pillows are essential to comfort post-mastectomy. They will need one for sleeping, keeping their arm away from their side, for their seatbelt, and for relaxing


They won't be able to shower after their surgery, so adult cleansing wipes will help them feel refreshed and clean in the interim period. Spray deodorant will enable them to use less motion when applying.

True Self-Care

No matter what kind of surgery or recovery lies ahead, one thing that always hits the mark is a great-smelling candle. Fragrant candles and other indulgent self-care items - luxurious lotions, essential oils, wax melts, fluffy socks, etc. - will help them turn their home into a five-star retreat. During recovery, staying home for a couple weeks may be required, so anything you can do to help them enjoy their space will be a big benefit.

Drain Management

After surgery, they will have annoying but necessary surgical drains. The Miena Robe with Drain Management Belt will allow them to keep their drains comfortably tucked away and neatly out of sight. The robe itself is perfect for the hospital and at home and is both luxurious and functional. Made of super-soft modal, this will keep them comfortable while they heal. What's better? They can remove the belt when they're healed and wear it on its own. 

Drain Management Belt, worn by model

The drain management belt is easy to clip in and out of the Miena as needed and will keep their drains out of sight, and out of mind.

Post-Surgical Bras

After their mastectomy or other breast surgery, they will need specialized bras that will soothe their sensitive skin and surgical sites. The Award-Winning Rora Bra is wire free, front closing, extremely supportive, cloud-soft, and suitable for all surgery types. So no matter if they are having a mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstructive, exchange, or FLAP surgery, this bra will keep them comfortable and supported. To stay fresh, we recommend stocking up with three to five post-surgical bras. If you feel overwhelmed choosing styles for them, get them a gift card to cover the essentials. Our fit specialists will answer all of their questions, and help them choose what will work best for them.

Other Essentials 

There are certain items that will make accessibility and everyday activities easier and less frustrating while they are recovering from surgery. It may seem like a no-brainer, but

  • A large jug, tumbler, or water bottle with a straw will allow them to stay hydrated without lifting a glass to their lips to drink.
  • Long phone charging cords are a lifesaver for hospital rooms with sparse outlets.
  • Back scratchers allow them to stay unbothered while they are sans mobility.
  • Shower chairs will allow them to bathe without straining themselves and becoming tired.


It's All About Support

Finding the right gifts for breast cancer survivors and patients can be a challenge because we never know exactly what they may need to feel comfortable or what we can do to speed up healing. While all the items on this list are excellent options to show you care, one of the best things you can do to support a friend or family member during this time is to simply ask: "What can I do to help?" and emphasize that you want to assist as much as possible.

If your friend or family member is the kind of person who has trouble accepting offers of help - as thrivers and survivors often are - don't leave the suggesting to them. Simply offer up something clear and concrete. For example, you could say, "I would like to set up dinner for you for the next week" or "Can I take care of walking the dog?" This will help ensure that they accept offers of help and are less likely to protest. 

It takes a village to prepare and care for someone who has breast cancer. No matter what, we know you will make sure they are supported in the ways they need to be.

Dana Donofree
Dana Donofree

Founder and CEO of AnaOno. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in her late 20’s, Dana took her own lived experience and fashion design background and (re)designed intimates for those that have undergone breast surgery. Dana’s story has been published around the world in outlets like New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and more.