By Lynne Adkins

By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One cancer diagnoses can affect a lot of people.

If you’re a friend of someone diagnosed with cancer, what is your role and how can you help?

You have to mention the disease — it’s a fact — but don’t let it define your friendship.  That’s the advice of  Bonnie Draeger, author of the just-released book, When Cancer Strikes a Friend.

She says all too often friends pull back, not sure what to say or do, and afraid of making a mistake.

She urges you to be there for your friend, to listen and to offer assistance.  And when you do, she advises, be specific:

“Say something like, ‘I’m available on Tuesday to watch the kids or drive you to chemotherapy,’ and then give the patient time to think over the offer of help or come up with something else.”

Keep the relationship normal, Draeger adds.  If you enjoyed playing cards before the diagnosis, keep doing so if your friend is up to it.  She notes that cancer is unpredictable, but friends shouldn’t be.

Bonnie Draeger will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, 1805 Walnut Street in center city Philadelphia, on October 27th, 1-3pm, to meet the public and talk about her book.

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