Thankfully, I have not had cancer, but I do have a different disease, and I thought I would post some advice based on my experience. My illness, multiple sclerosis, is in a stage right now (and I plan to keep it this way) where it is what people call an invisible illness. I feel pretty crappy a decent amount of the time, but I look fine on the outside. However, when I was first diagnosed, some people avoided me simply because they didn't know what to say or do. The fact that you want to be there for your friend, in and of itself, will be a huge comfort to her. Having a serious illness definitely lets you know who your real friends are, and finding out who is not a real friend can really sting (though at least you can stop wasting time and energy on them). You don't have to ignore that she is losing her hair or avoid the topic of her cancer, etc. It sounds like you already know this. You also don't need to figure out the "right" thing to do or say because there isn't any one right thing. Being there and caring is right enough. I think the most important thing I can say, though, is to see your friend as a person who happens to have cancer as opposed to "Cancer Patient." I remember flying east for a family event and seeing cousins who had not seen me since my diagnosis. Several people said, while looking me up and down, "Wow, you really look good!" I looked pretty much as I always had, and it took me a minute to realize that they were really saying, "Wow, you don't look sick." I so wish they had just been honest with me about their feelings and fears, such as saying, "I'm so glad to see you looking like yourself. I didn't know what to expect, and I was afraid you would look really sick or frail." Sometimes I have to remind people that I am still me. I am a person who happens to have MS; I am not MS and do not wish to have it define me. Of course having a serious illness, such as cancer, will change someone's perspective, and I can only imagine how hard it would be to have your hair fall out. When I first read your post, I considered suggesting some nice scarves, but then I thought that your friend might interpret them as saying that bald is not beautiful. Then I realized that suggesting anything like that would be doing to your friend exactly what I don't want people to do to me. Talk to your friend about losing her hair. Ask how she is feeling. Ask her if she wants to shave the rest off (then she is taking control of when she goes completely bald), and if she wants you to help. Let her know how beautiful she is with or without hair, and also let her know that, while you don't think she needs anything to cover her head, you can certainly understand that she might want to do so. Depending on how she responds, yu can offer to buy her some scarves (or not!). This way, you will be treating her like the same person, the same competent adult, she has always been instead of as Cancer Patient. You acknowledge both the person she still is and the fact that she has cancer and is losing her hair. One of the nicest things a friend did for me during my first bad MS flare was just to come over, give me a foot rub, and talk -- not specifically about MS and not purposefully ignoring it, just a normal conversation.