Together we will beat cancer


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jul 2016 00:28 in response to LorraineD

Hi Lorraine,

Now if you'd followed my advice, you'd have had all the fun of being rude to her AND still had the same outcome! 

When she was in her final months, my Mum shamelessly used the fact that she had terminal cancer as an excuse for being ruthlessly honest with people, if not downright rude! 69 year's worth of social inhibitions cast aside lol



12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jul 2016 00:43 in response to davek

On a related note - one thing not to ask a CRUK volunteer:-

Q. What made you start volunteering with Cancer Research UK (OK - so far, so good I'm thinking, but then before I can answer) - do you know someone with cancer?

A. Yes, me!

(Awkward silence, then) ... but you look so well! 

Chuckles, then "thank you, I try not to fit in with the expected stereotypes


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jul 2016 02:34 in response to davek

Hi Dave, that one really got a laugh out of me. I'm trying to recall whether or not I was that dumb before I was diagnosed with cancer. I don't think I was, or at least I certainly hope not. I not only try to learn from my own mistakes, I also learn fromt the mistakes that others make!!  I've been dealing with cancer in my family, or close friends for so many years now that it scares me. Whenever I encounter a situation that is highly emotional, such as a serious illness, death, or other life-altering situation, I try to put myself in that person's shoes before I open my mouth to say anything. Its' impossible to know for sure if you haven't been where they are, but its' possible to have compassion in any case.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. It really helps to communicate with people who "get it".


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Sep 2016 07:12 in response to LorraineD

We my Husband and I (OMD I sound like the queen) lol are new to this even so we have experienced stacks of the above. The fact is Ian hasnt started his treatment yet and he is quite 'rotund' Laugh and looks really well.

Many people have suggested Canabis Oil so the info was brilliant thanks. 

What burns our bums is " Well at least you can give up work now" no disrespect but he has worked in the same industry for 35 yrs and actually loved his job 

or "the Drs must have it wrong you look so well"  3 Drs 2 Biopsys CT & MRI scan nope the are NOT wrong

our favorite is " well you have some weight behind you you will sail through this"  yes he might be overweight but he hasnt got rhino hide for skin, its not physical he is suffering at the moment its mentally / emotionally

The stinger that hurts me is about finances " at least you will be well looked after due to his company payout" ........ 28 yrs together do you realy think i give a flying bat fart about money when my soul mate isnt going to be by my side 

Much love Lesley x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Sep 2016 01:46 in response to LesleyM

Hi Lesley, A lot of what has been said to you about your husband's diagnosis is downright ignorant and totally insensitive. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that you possibly losing your husband to a death from cancer would not be comforting to know you have money from insurance, etc. It blows my mind at some of the things that people say at such a time of disaster when someone is trying to come to terms with receiving a diagnosis of cancer. Also, ".....but you look so good, how can you have cancer?"  That is what I hear all the time, and yes I do look like I never had a sick day in my life, but I've had so many surgeries, I've lost count, but no incisions that can be seen on the outside. I've been dealing with various cancers now for almost 7 years, but I'm on the downward slide now, only receiving Paliative treatment. I'm doing okay overall but severely fatigued all the time. My oncologist wants to try 2nd line chemo to see if I can tolerate it in the hope that my cancer can be slowed down some. I had it before, but I was so sick I almost died from it and they had to stop the treatment.  I see him again the end of Sept. to let him know what I want to do. Living longer if I'm really sick is not worth it to me, My quality of life is more important.

As you and your husband take this journey together, you will find this forum to be a big help in supporting you through it. People on here really know what its' like to be dealing with cancer, either as a patiend, or as a carer. I hope you will take the support that is available for you both on here.

Take care and I wish your husband the best of luck in getting through his treatment and a good outcome on the other end.


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Sep 2016 07:43 in response to Moderator Sarah

I agree with all of these bar one. "If anyone can beat this you can" I personally know from experience some people just don't have the fight in them and it happens a lot. When I had cancer when people said "If anyone can beat this you can" I took it as a compliment and made me more determined to beat it. Definitely not a bad thing to say at all. Everyone's different some just don't have the fight in them.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Sep 2016 11:15 in response to Diane1946

Sort of agree with you Diane as the same was said to me -your so positive your going to beat this. On the down side it does imply that those who do not survive didn't try hard enough which I know is simply not true.


Was speaking with a friend who had been very supportive during my treatment. She was telling me about someone else and her exact words were " She's like you had a bit of cancer" I was lost for words.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Sep 2016 14:21 in response to river56

Lol - that's like having a bit of a sniffle, or a bit of a tummy ache.


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

17 Sep 2016 17:41 in response to max56

I got asked this week if I wanted to plan my funeral!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

17 Sep 2016 18:37 in response to madcat

Your joking! who ever said that?

couple of weeks ago I was in town with the kids when some bloke started to shout over to me ....

He said "excuse me,excuse me" do you have leukaemia? or do you have cancer? "excuse me" and on it went like that....

I was completely taken back by it and utterly gobsmacked..and my poor kids were with me..

nerve of some people!! mind you if someone asked me to plan my funeral I'd be a bit miffed..


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 07:12 in response to Nessemo3

Madcat, what a possitively uncalled for question to be asked of you ! I would be fuming and my reply would be totally un printable on here! 

However this might make you smile, Ian (my husband) is an absolute  %*^$£&$% when it comes to songs and themes, he will plant one in your head and you will be humming it for days, usually something really silly, Thomas the Tank theme is the norm for e.g  I could do him some physical harm at times as it drives me bananas. 

However Last night on the subject of funerals he has decided that is what he wants when we walk into his service, I was speachless (a 1st for me lol) but we laughed, he has worked for the rail industry for 35 yrs he said it would cause a smile ..... Oh Dear chick I dispair only he could think of something like that x 

Much Love to You & Yours x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 12:13 in response to LesleyM

Lesley one of the things that helped me in my dark periods was planning my funeral - only in my head. I could not decided between Dire Straits" Do the walk of life" or Queen "Fat bottomed girls".

Hi Madcat l got a cold call last week about arranging and paying for my funeral in advance.

Hi Nessimo how awful amazing how inconsiderate some people are.

Hi Davek yes if she had not been a good friend and really supportive I would have had something to sa

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 16:08 in response to river56

Hi All

Not at all surprised (sadly) at this 'planning your funeral' question.  My husband (terminally ill with mesothelioma for three years, passed away January last year) must have heard this a record number of times (mainly from his consultant/palliative care team but also a few 'friends'). His 'stock in trade' answer was 'I will leave that to her indoors as she will be better at it and I do not want to think about it' and apparently it 'would give me something to focus on'!!  I sincerely hope he was happy with the result!!

Sending hugs to all and hoping you are having a good day.  Jules

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 19:37 in response to Moderator Sarah

It's good to read these and following comments, and find I'm not the only one who's bothered by them. I agree it's hard for people but some are clearly totally unacceptable. 

I've been quite lucky in that I've only received tactless and annoying (so far). I don't actually want to hear about anyone else's (2nd hand) experience of cancer unless it's news (I mean, I can hear about it but I don't want anyone to think it's going to be helpful as such). This is particularly when they've had a particularly hard time - why would anyone want to tell me that?

My particular bug bear is a particular relative telling me she doesn't know how I cope with a stoma bag; she couldn't. What does she think my options are? Does she think I'm happy about it, or even find it ok?




12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 22:52 in response to JeremyBob

What sort of cancer do you have?

Oh, my Uncle had that - he died of it, well they all do, don't they?

Oops, I didn't mean you, I'm sure you'll be fine! 


that was just after I was diagnosed. 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Sep 2016 22:53 in response to river56

I've just started a new thread about funeral tunes - I think it may be interesting!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Sep 2016 17:42 in response to Moderator Sarah

I know these comments can be awful, already my sister asked my husband if he would go bald. She asked this with a twinkle in her eye, as my husband has very little hair anyway. He was not offended, because he knew she didn't mean to upset him. I just think that some people THINK these comments are meant to be amusing/reassuring. If we try to understand the sentiment behind the comments, perhaps it won't feel as bad. I feel sure as I post this, that many will be upset by my take on it. I do not mean to offend or upset anyone, so please accept this is just mine and my husbands point of view.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Sep 2016 19:53 in response to Cazann

My Husband already shaves his head 'to the bone' so for him it would be a bonus, again we have an obscure sense of humour ... however he said gillette will probably go out of business due to the amount of razor blades he buys so he would have probably found the comment amusing. x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 06:35 in response to LesleyM

Me again sorry, I'm normally a laid  back chilled type of person however I have just had a private message on a social media site that has got me absolutely Bl**dy furious

Religion... I dont have a problem with and have utmost respect for whatever religion a person chooses to follow, (like its any of my business) My circle of friends family and work mates includes probably every religion known to man. I was born Jewish,  'did' organised religion (Christian) for nearly 20 years decide that it wasnt for me and now I follow the Spiritual/Pagan path in which I have found happiness and peace.

The message I just received started ' that if i chose to 'fall away' from the 1 true God and follow 'the darkside' am I surprised that the coals have been heaped upon my head and now as a family we are suffering the concequences of MY ! actions'  I am so angry, if it wasnt stupid oclock in the morning  I would possibly go round this persons house and probably end up getting arrested ! 

So So very sorry for the rant but I just needed to tell someone, I'm off now to have a bl**dy good cry , and congratulate myself for not using BIG sweary words x Much Love  lesley x 


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 06:49 in response to LesleyM

Hi Lesley

This is appalling, the more so that as a 'private message'  am assuming it was a 'friend' who chose to shoot their mouth off.  Not surprised you are angry and upset. Not sure they will remain on your friend's list.  The downside of social media strikes again and not sure they would have said this to your face! Sending a hug. Jules

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 10:47 in response to LesleyM

I want to add my support to you too Lesley. This is the problem with social media, people are emboldened to say things that they wouldn't otherwise say if you were there in front of them. Should this person themselves ever suffer from cancer, I wonder would they still hold this misguided belief? Keep you chin up and rant on here as much as you like, we'll be here to listen.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 18:04 in response to LesleyM

Hi Lesley, I am so sorry that someone felt justified in saying that to you at the worst possible time of your life. Who, in their right mind would ever think they had the right to send you that message. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what you wrote it appears as though this person is a family member? Why would I be surprised given what I know about some families. Sometimes I think they're the worst, like they have a God-given right (pardon the pun) to say whatever pops into their head because they're "family". Ignorance is no excuse for someone blatantly saying that to a person dealing with cancer at any level, especially in the name of religion.   

Again, so sorry. Take care.


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 20:09 in response to LesleyM

Dont despair Lesley,

They obviously haven't got it yet. And have spent little time or don't have the mental capacity to understand their "one true God". I used to get all this stuff at Catholic school and so did the the Protestant children at their school. No wonder there was/is such a divide in places like Liverpool, Ireland and parts of Scotland. I expect Jewish people, Muslims, etc all get the same indoctrination. As they say "thank God I'm an Atheist" (sorry for that :)) I used to love the comedian Dave Allen the guy who told his jokes from a bar stool with a glass of whiskey in hand who always finished his show with " Goodnight and may your God go with you"

Oh yes, on buying a new refridgerator shortly after being diagnosed and with a slim chance of a 2 year outlook, the saleswoman asked if I would like a 5 years extended warranty. Obviously she didn't know, but it brings home the changes about how you think about life. As it is I'm doing quite well and perhaps should have taken a gamble on the warranty. Kim

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

22 Sep 2016 21:12 in response to kimchoson

Thanks all for the replies and the support ...... I needed to post just to prove i wasn't in jail and no bail money needed to be raised hahahahaha, so after my good cry, a walk down the garden shouted all the BIG ! sweary words I could think of ( I think ive discovered a few new ones too lol ) I felt 100x better. I constructed my plan of action, I forwarded the PM on to the Elder of her church and left it in his hands, she wasn't family but what i thought of was one of my close friends. Yes she is now deleted and blocked and reported to FB.

As for electrical items upon diagnosis my husband went and purchased a TV on buy now pay later and chuckled all the while he was doing it, I told you we have an obscure sense of humour, after the visit to the oncologist he said ****** me it looks like im going to have to pay for that TV after all 

Thanks again all I'm back on course now scrubbing my house from top to bottom, I clean really well when I have the hump 

Love n Hugs all x Lesley x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Oct 2016 02:46 in response to KatieZ

My sister who died nov 2015 after bone and liver metastatic cancer ,told me that when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, was asked by a concerned parent whose daughter was attending the same school as her daughter "I hope you'll be wearing a wig as I don't want my child to be traumatised if you lose your hair and turn up like that at school.

I have also had breast cancer and heard professionals talk to me with unfeeling and bland broadsweeping statements.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Oct 2016 03:22 in response to Moderator Sarah

As soon as you say you have cancer there is always someone who will tell you of someone they know who had ............................ No two cancers are the same! Don't want to be compared to anyone else thanks.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Oct 2016 19:01 in response to max56

Some of these things are so funny! I got fed up with people telling me how well I looked! To me it felt as if they didnt believe I was actually post-op and having chemo! Even when my hair all fell out I still got the same comments, although some of my work colleagues (I work at the hospital where I underwent my treatment) would just walk past me, not recognising me without my uniform and hair! I got fed up with people telling me about their friends/family's experiences too. Everyone reacts differently. Sometimes one needs a bit of sympathy, not too much but I did find people seemed to think that chemotherapy was like having a bad cold! But I looked so well!! Lucky old me! Happy

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Oct 2016 20:54 in response to FEC

Hi Fec,

I'm glad our posts managed to make you smile.

When I started chemo I did a pre-emotive strike by having a very short (no. 2) hair cut. For some reason (short hair, very cold winter, good luck - who knows) I didn't lose much hair and when sat in the chemo circle I was inevitably greeted by someone asking "is this your first time?". I managed to bite my tongue, smile and say "nope - this is number whatever, I actually feel like sh1t, but I'm glad it doesn't show" Happy 

Like you, I worked in the NHS and it was interesting how differently various colleagues reacted. "But you look so well" often felt like "there's bog all wrong with you" but maybe that was my paranoia kicking in. It was also heartening how many people, some of whom I hardly knew, were so supportive.

Best wishes



12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

12 Oct 2016 11:51 in response to Moderator Sarah
Love this list, I know it's difficult to know what to say but after my terminal diagnosis last year (thankfully now downgraded) one supposed 'friend' came out with "cancers nothing - they can cure that now, I've got far worse problems with all the money I owe" it was then I realised just how little money and some people really matter. I take the really well meaning people's comments even if a bit crass and just smile at them - the really stupid insensitive comments usually get a response of "goodbye".

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

12 Oct 2016 17:02 in response to lisalou

I too love this post, but found it really ridiculous to find out who my true friends were after my diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer it has been a harrowing and sometimes terrifying seven months, but things are now looking up.To be honest I did not find it hard to say  Goodbye to the so called friends, my body no longer feels so alien to me, still not right but coping better with it , good luck to everyone on here whatever your type of cancer