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12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

27 Oct 2016 23:27 in response to Dory

Oh dear I think I have been horribly guilty of mentioning staying positive to people in the past and now I will learn how it feels I suppose ... sorry everyone I didnt realise how stupid that was but now obviously I do but its too late to take it back

This thread is so helpful and uplifting

I know that the line that I hear every day at work is going to really hurt next week when I return to work.  I work with the elderly and they very often say to me 'Dont get old love' they are simply expressing how hard it is having aches and pains etc but suddenly that statement is going to really hit home

They will not know of course that I have cancer but I am not sure what if anything to say.

In the past I just quipped well I will try but the alternative isnt much fun either 

somehow I dont think I can manage to just say that now 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 Oct 2016 18:37 in response to Andrea11

That sounds like the perfect come back to me Happy

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

4 Nov 2016 08:07 in response to LorraineD

nobody should be quick to comment.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

9 Nov 2016 15:38 in response to max56

I totally agree with you.  I had a hysterectomy in March for cervical cancer and they told me everything was fine afterwards.  This week I have been diagnosed with cancer again.  I didn't tell anyone except my family who I swore to secrecy but it still got out and the funny things that were said to me was something else.  This time I'm not worrying about it and I'll just laugh and dodge the dodgy remarks.  Thanks for writing this - It made me laugh!!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Nov 2016 08:08 in response to jessietrevor96

Well said

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Nov 2016 14:34 in response to Moderator Sarah

I'm a carer for my MIL who has pancreatic cancer and after reading this list I thought "oh heck" I've used many of these phrases and platitudes over the past three months Sad 
But then, after reading through so many other posts in the forum, I've come to realise there are no "right or wrong things to say to someone who has cancer" because I've just read other fellow cancer suffers on here using the exact same phrases and platitudes with each other :/  "Yours so strong; you are so brave" and "I know you will get through it"!  And more to do with how you are feeling or the mood you are in the time, that makes them irritating :/ 

I've even been on the receiving end of some of these platitudes when I've been in hospital battling my own health issues Laugh And when I've been lying there feeling sorry for myself and heard these it's raised my blood pressure right up . . . . which was a good thing for me at the time ;)

So, I think I'll not worry about what I might say wrong or right that might peeve off my MIL, so long as it keeps her fighting Laugh :D Laugh  The time to worry would be when she stops getting riled by these "foot-in-mouth" remarks Wink 

As for Item 3 on that list; I have wanted to shave my head....as recently as just last week Shocked  I've always hated my hair since I cut it short.  It used to be down to my waist but when I started having babies and they started grabbing and pulling on it so much, I had it cut short.  But it's a pain to style as it's so flat and boring so I get it cut that bit shorter each year until now little ones sometime mistaken me for a boy Shocked  Only last weekend I overheard a little girl say to her grandad "that is not a lady" when he told her to stand back to allow the lady to get into the shop Laugh  Unfortunately my children won't allow me to shave it and threaten me with dire consequences if I ever do Sad  I've already been ground for life several times this year for minor misdemeanors Cry And getting so close to christmas, Santa might not visit me if I'm grounded again Sad
 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Nov 2016 15:54 in response to Moderator Sarah

I get always asked "you look really well" I may look really well but as we all know with terminal prognosis, it is all inside and you get by being very positive and fighting it with the good treatment I am receiving.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Nov 2016 19:02 in response to Simon77

"You look really well" is my pet hate. I was told that when I was chemo, had lost weight and felt dead on my feet with exhaustion. My response wasn't very polite lol

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Dec 2016 04:18 in response to Moderator Sarah

Thanks for this post, But is there any thread for the topic under motivating/supporting patients who is having deppresion due to Cancer?

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Dec 2016 08:52 in response to hopethebest

Hello Hopethebest, 

You may find thisinformation on our website about Cancer and your emotions helpful. It includes a section on sadness and depression. 

Best wishes, 

Jenn
Cancer Chat moderator

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

26 Dec 2016 04:48 in response to davek

Hi Everyone. Some great comments here. I hate the 'positive' word too - I'll feel how I feel, thanks. And being endlessly told about someone else who had cancer - and your point is....? When I told an acquaintance I was frightened of having chemotherapy, she said, "Well, my friend Anne was told she'd be dead by Christmas unless she had chemo, so she had it and lived until the summer." There's also an acquaintance who, whenever I said I felt rotten, responded, "Well, at least you're still here."

I find it most helpful when people just ask, "How are you?" and listened to my reply.

I'll share one funny moment if I may. When I had my breast ultrasound I was told one of the problems with getting a clear reading was the denseness of my breast tissue. "Like a 15 year old." (I'm 60.) After surgery the dishy young consultant came on the ward rounds and (cue Miranda Hart) I revealed all and blurted, "Apparently I have the breasts of a 15 year old!" He looked down, hesitated, and said, "Not really." 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

24 Jan 2017 15:46 in response to Moderator Sarah

As I am not the cancer sufferer it is my husband who is I dont really know if other people have said totally inappropriate things or not. My husband is in  denial at the moment therefore I dont think people realise how serious things are. You are quite correct in saying that the best thing people can do is to help when they offer and not to shun you if they see you outside of your home environment. We have found that some of our friends are very chatty to me but dont seem to know what to say to Dave. He still loves a laugh and a rattle (good conversation) so please well meaning people dont shut him out.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

24 Jan 2017 16:14 in response to lynnd

Exactly that is all I can say, being a person who has cancer with a terminal prognosis, but fortunately and hopefully timescales will stretch given the chemo and immune therapy drug I am on. People always say how well I look, this does bug me as I do look well and at the moment feel well.....but it is what's inside that is the problem!!! Take care Simon.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

24 Jan 2017 16:22 in response to Simon77

Hi Simon

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I have only just joined this forum and having read a few of the posts on various themes I think this will be somewhere I can hopefully gain comfort. I am so sorry to hear of your terminal prognosis.

If you need to rant at someone hopefully as an outsider rant at me. I am a good listener.

 

Take care 

Lynn

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

24 Jan 2017 16:42 in response to lynnd

Hi Lynn. I may take you on on that At the moment I am very calm and enjoying an early retirement too so it is not too bad at the moment.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

24 Jan 2017 16:58 in response to lynnd

Hi and welcome to the forum (also saw your post on another thread).  My late husband was not in denial but did not like to talk about his illness (found it too emotional) and so I was always the first port of call when people had questions. I actually learnt a lot along the way and took all support that was offered to help me cope.  Finding this forum during his three year journey was a big part of my support as there is real understanding to be found here even though the cancers may be different.  Wishing you both all the very best.  Jules

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

25 Jan 2017 13:11 in response to jules54
Hello Jules, Thank you for your message. I dont know whether my husband is in denial or not or whether hes just covering up to try to spare me. It is just over 4 years since he was diagnosed with liver cancer. The only treatment that he can have is ablation which he has had twice so far. His next scan is due next month so until then it is just a matter of trying to get on with things as normally as we can. We both still retain our sense of humour and try to stay as positive as we can. Dave also had a major stroke nearly 16 years ago so we had to learn to adapt to a different type of lifestyle. Cancer has taken quite a few of my family and friends over the years, therefore I have a realistic knowledge of what to expect in time, even though different cancers cause their own different symptoms. I am sorry to hear of your husbands loss, and like you I have been trying to find a forum like this for ages. I have read quite a lot of the threads and find them uplifting and helpful. Many Many thanks once again for your messag. Lynn

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

26 Jan 2017 11:47 in response to KatieZ

Hi Katie

In reply to your question it is radio frequency ablation, where they roast the tumour. He has had 2 removed already since he was diagnosed. 

 

Lynn

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

26 Jan 2017 12:00 in response to max56
I had a friend ask me whether I had thought of making a Bucket List and then when everything seemed to have been removed in surgery said "i suppose we are going to have to put up with you for a bit longer then. You'll probably just come back and haunt me anyway!" I did warn her of the perils of slipping on some soap on the stairs but I can't see how any of this was meant to be amusing. She seems to think that I am losing my sense of humour. Must be the cancer!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

26 Jan 2017 16:11 in response to Welshborn

lol I must say that whenever I have good news I tell people this means they'll have to put up with me a bit longer. I guess whether it's funny of not depends on how you feel at a particular time Happy


 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

26 Jan 2017 16:14 in response to Moderator Sarah

On a similar theme ... this appeared on my FB feed the other day.
Number 7 looks familiar and number 13 made me laugh as I do have a mate called Dave who uses a wheelchair (he also scuba dives) and everyone in our area seems to know him!

https://themighty.com/2016/01/how-to-act-around-someone-in-a-wheelchair/

 

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

1 Feb 2017 15:20 in response to davek

You’ve read the list, now watch the video!

With World Cancer Day just around the corner (4 Feb), BBC Three has created a short film called Things Not to Say to Someone With Cancer. The film features four conversations between people who've had cancer about the frustrating (and sometimes funny) things people say to them.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of well-meaning comments such as “you don’t look like you’ve got cancer!”, or been asked “why have you still got hair?”, this could be for you.

I think we’ve all had one of these from time to time, what do you think? Happy

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 Feb 2017 09:28 in response to Moderator Sarah

Very well said I am going through some of that and been very sad at times

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

15 Mar 2017 22:32 in response to Bexmac54

I love this response, That means there is someone else like me ! I know its vain but the scariest thing for me was the thought of loosing my hair and all i got was the same response...youre so brave ect!  i already felt less of a woman at 25 having to have a hystorectomy my hair to me was the last feminine thing left on me.....so i decided to have the ice cap....well let me tell you it was the most painfull thing i ever endured everybody around me oh youre so brave etc etc... well i wasnt brave just scared and needed people to be honest listen when i was frightend and let me vent when i needed to and thanks to this forum more people will be aware of how to react instead of just trying to be kind although it doesnt always come across that way.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

16 Mar 2017 12:12 in response to Moderator Sarah

Hello All on this not too bad spring afternoon.

I thought you may like to read of my latest venture of someone with "foot in mouth" disease.  It may make you smile although I'm still working on it for myself.  I spoke to someone on the phone this morning who said that she hadn't seen me for a while.  I told her that I'd been diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2016 and, following various tests that we all know about, had a left lobectomy on 14 February, yes, Valentine's Day.  There was silence at the other end of the phone so I explained that I'd had half my lung removed because of cancer on Valentine's Day and what a present and she replied - and I still can't believe it - "Oh lovely".  It was then my turn to be silent. It proved that she just wasn't listening and I just can't believe how thoughtless and ignorant some people can be.  So with a quick "must go" on my  part, mainly before I said something that she'd be sorry for, I put the phone down.  But a month after the surgery, I'm able to do most things, although at a slower speed at the moment.  So to those of you waiting for this surgery, it is a worry, a very big worry, but you will get through it .  Take care. 

Love Carol x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

16 Mar 2017 16:25 in response to Moderator Helen
Absolutely loved this video and shared it on fb hoping that friends and family watch it and go uhoh:-) Its amazing i have experienced all of what they were talking about and understood perfectly. Thankyou for sharing this great video. ness x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

18 Mar 2017 23:26 in response to davek

OMG i get this all the time........Well Susan 3 trowels of make up and 3 hours of getting ready makes me look human! Have you considered maybe i have children animals oh and responsibilitys to take care of Wink Nobody has time to be sick and thats why we push on!  Positive thoughts to all Wink lol xxxxx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Mar 2017 23:40 in response to CarlaH

my favourite thing not to say is " are you better now ? "  err no not really lol not as if i have had a cold nope i am in remmission from cancer got to laugh though havent you

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 Apr 2017 01:07 in response to Moderator Sarah

1 Youre so skinny. Youve lost so much weight. Id love to have what you have.....

Buahahaha not the thing to say to someone with esophageal cancer that cant swallow food and is struggling with liquids. But I do have a pretty twisted sense of humour and (although the people who said it werent intending to be funny) it has made me laugh.

2 Stop being so negative. You'll beat this. Don't give up.

hm nah im pretty sure stage 4 will beat me and I will believe my oncologist over blind optimism. Sorry for being a realist but I'll throw a few punches along the way Wink

3 But youre too young for this cancer. (My gp said this). Im 38 and esophageal cancer usually effects 65+ year olds. I am the chosen one! Lucky me!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 Apr 2017 16:47 in response to SamTheVillaFan

Hi Sam,

I was told that I was too young and I'm twenty years older than you! 

Next time anyone says they wish they could lose weight, offer to swap with them and enjoy their well-earned embarrassment lol 

Other question and responses that go down well are how are you/still got cancer, count your blessings/that won't take long ... finished! and the old have you tried the whatever is in fashon this week diet/bit late to try alternative preventions, that's like saying try keeping your tyres inflated at the correct pressure to avoid them wearing out when they've already blown out in the fast lane of the M6. 

Cheers

Dave