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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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How to Help a Friend with Cancer

You're not alone if you get all tongue-tied and nervous when you try to talk to—or comfort—someone with an illness like cancer (or any other serious illness). I mean, I had cancer and I still have a hard time knowing what to say when it's someone else. When I was the patient, so many people either never said anything, afraid of saying the wrong thing, or ended up with their foot in their mouth. Like another mother from my son's preschool class who said absolutely nothing; instead she rapidly turned her grocery cart in the opposite direction and ran when she spotted me coming down the same aisle in the supermarket.

Or the woman who came to visit me after I had my mastectomy, looked quizzically at me and asked, "Why are you walking all lopsided?" Truly.

I'm not bitter, I'm really not. I realize it is a tough situation, and sometimes a no-win situation at that. That's why I reached out to Kelly Connors from Real Women on Health and proposed we tackle this tough topic. We got together with Lori Hope, author and speaker and another cancer survivor. Lori has written the wonderfully informative book, "Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know".

In case you missed it, here's another chance to download the show, or listen to it now in the player below. I promise you'll come away with something new.

It helps to know what to say—not just to the other person you're saying it to, but to you, too.

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