What to do if a loved one says: “I’ve Got Ovarian Cancer”

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Most people don’t know what to say or do when someone they are close to reveals they have cancer. If that someone is their mother, sister, cousin, friend or coworker who has ovarian cancer they probably would like to be helpful without being intrusive but may need some guidance. Jen Coken, a stand-up comic, political activist, and life coach, has turned her experience of coping with her mother’s diagnosis and death from ovarian cancer into a new book, “When I Die, Take My Panties: Turning Your Darkest Moments Into Your Greatest Gifts.”

Coken can share the warning signs of ovarian cancer that are often missed when the disease is in its earliest, curable stage. She is also a firm believer in the credo “Live every day like it’s your first.” She offers three tips for anyone who wants to be a better friend or helper to anyone with cancer who feels they need to tiptoe around any discussion of the disease.

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Her advice includes:

  • Focus on the Facts. By focusing on the next chemo treatment or the latest test result you avoid obsessing about your worst unrealized fears.
  • Say Everything to Avoid Regrets. Don’t hold back on the things you want to say even if you think you should. When you freely share your thoughts, you give the cancer patient permission to say what is on their mind, too.
  • Empower the Patient and Their Decisions. Talk things through with them but let them take the lead on how and when they want to communicate, what they want their treatment to be, and other issues.

About the author

Jen Coken spent six years on the stand-up comedy circuit in Denver and continues to use humor to embrace the ridiculousness of life. Her aptly titled first book, “When I Die, Take My Panties,” is but one example of that. For the past 20 years, Coken has led seminars that have helped people break through their self-made limitations. Her current passion is educating women about ovarian cancer and helping people keep their sense of humor and self amid illness. –  PRNewswire

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