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12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

1 Apr 2018 11:12 in response to davek

I don't mind if they don't mean it as long as they care.  I feel that there is no reason why I should get special treatment.  The most hurtful thing by far was a friend of 60 years who dropped me as soon as she heard of my diagnosis. I tried to make overtures to her but nothing worked. I  have had 3 years to get used to it and accept it as her problem now.  It is still sad.

Tosyn 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 May 2018 05:32 in response to Moderator Sarah

so true. People either run away from you or try to be helpful...when they know nothing

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 May 2018 12:56 in response to rocker

Just want to add everyone is different .. everyone needs something different from friends ...

Before cancer we all try to understand what it's like and ponder what to say ... Mention it, not mention it .. talk about happy stuff .. our own problems ... Give them a hug ... Cross the road coz there's a chance we could upset or make things worse... Talk with a sad understanding look, or just smile ... Say you look well .. or you look really ill ... 

Their list goes on and on too ... I remember what those feelings of fingers crossed l say the right things coz I care ... Now with cancer ... No one can fully know all that this entails ... The ups and downs of this journey is emmence ... What we need is world's appart ...  But the one thing that will help us through is a friend .... And to try to understand just how hard it is being that "friend" and forgive those that "get it wrong" . ....  

And l just let things slip right over my head ... Life is too short and every day is precious and thinking about people that don't matter is a waste of that time ...  So please spare a thought for those that get it wrong ... And at least they tried ... X X 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

30 May 2018 08:33 in response to Chriss

I just came upon this old thread today.  I haven't had many of the original questions except one which has happened again and again.

"If there's anything I can do"

Better was the friend who came without asking and cut my lawn when I was in hospital.

D

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

30 May 2018 10:17 in response to Dafra

You are so right Dafra; I am sure people mean well when they ask that question but they are perhaps unknowingly just covering themselves and making them look helpful.  As you say we should know - from our own daily lives - the things that need to be done - wash the car, mow the lawn, get their daily paper, sweep up the fallen leaves (if in autumn) and we shouldn't need to be asked if they need doing.  Your friend/family member/neighbour may not always remember to say thank you but they will be aware it has been done.  And we shouldn't be in it for the thanks anyway.    Annie

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

30 May 2018 13:24 in response to Annieliz

The worse thing someone said to me after I was told Mine was benign was “ I knew it wasn’t cancer as you would have been told straight away!” That’s after biopsies being inconclusive and then having lumps removed! Some people think they are doctors!! I did reply well wish you was my doctors then so I didn’t have to have breast surgery!! Some people just don’t think how hurtful they are being when trying to be nice x 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

27 Oct 2018 22:48 in response to Beachbabe

Wow beachbabe. What a thing to say!

Well I’ve finally calmed down after enduring the latest round of “foot in mouth” disease. Thanks @davek ‍ for directing me to this thread. Here’s a few from my growing collection. No lasting offence taken, though I’ve been rendered speechless a few times, lol!

“BC is nothing to be feared these days - it’s just like diabetes”.

(Hmm, do you mean in the sense that they’re both life threatening, life limiting conditions? You’ll excuse me if I find either of these conditions a tad worrying!).

...On the subject of hormone/chemo induced menopause: “Well you’d have gone through the menopause eventually anyway”. 

(Oh well that’s alright then).

”At least they’ve caught it early”. 

(What makes you think that? Unless I’ve explicitly told you so or you’ve read my pathology report, assume nothing....In much the same way as it would be foolish to assume someone’s pregnant unless they’re lying in the delivery suite legs akimbo with the baby’s head actually coming out. It’s just too embarrassing to get the wrong end of the stick with these things. Trust me.

“You might not lose your hair”.

(True for some chemo regimes, but not mine.  Not unless I’m about to defy medical science anyway. Hmm that reminds me, I must buy a lottery ticket this week. Feeling lucky!).

“My great aunt Flo/uncle derek/Janice who works at the one stop etc etc. had cancer and they’re absolutely fine now ... see?!!!”

(Yeah because our circumstances are obviously identical. Not). 

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 Oct 2018 00:36 in response to Mrsfingers

I didn't tell many people about my endometrial cancer. One female I did tell said, regarding total hysterectomy, "Well, your baby making days are over anyway, so it doesn't really matter."

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 Oct 2018 07:14 in response to gamechanger

No words!!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Oct 2018 18:17 in response to Mrsfingers

Not quite as bad as ... 

“My great aunt Flo/uncle derek/Janice who works at the one stop etc etc. had the same cancer as you ... and they died, they all do! Oh but I'm sure you'll be fine!!" 

I've had that one at least twice Happy 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Oct 2018 18:50 in response to davek

Best I've had to date is I look so good- better than before I had cancer treatment.......

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Oct 2018 22:13 in response to davek

Spat out a mouthful of my bedtime cuppa there @davek ‍ 

Priceless!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

29 Oct 2018 22:14 in response to Jbains

There goes another mouthful of my cuppa! 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

21 Nov 2018 20:40 in response to davek

that’s a dreadful one .....and one of the reasons I’m keeping my disease quiet for as long as I can ! 

I had gone on about not eating burnt food and how I believe processed pork products (of which he is fond)  were carcinogenic 

“well there’s no need to for you to worry then Mum it won’t make any difference to you ! He didn’t mean it badly but it hit me badly ☹️ It’s his sense of humour and his way of dealing with the elephant in the room 

The big one that is my very rare, Primary ,incurable ,inoperable, untreatable,brain cancer!  Sons aren’t perfect and we can’t expect people to be either . Sometimes they really just don’t know what to say. It’s worse if they cross the road and ignore you. ....again why I’m keeping quiet. People treat you differently ‍♀️

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

17 Feb 2019 15:53 in response to Moderator Sarah

Oh my goodness! I’ve just been diagnosed and it’s me actually saying to people around me things like “don’t worry, they have caught it early” and “I’m remaining positive!” I think it goes to show how this dreadful disease changes us as we meet our challenges. I’m actually a Counsellor and I would never dream of saying anything like this to one of my clients. Now it’s me using all these cliches!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Apr 2019 23:38 in response to kimchoson

Thankyou for saying that Kim. We are dealing with my friends cancer and we do our best. Some of the comments on this thread towards people are quite unkind. There is no right or wrong thing to say, it depends on the individual I would have thought. Me and my friend have very dark senses of humour that gets us through the day, however some of what we say would probably shock another person with cancer. No one would intentionally say something cruel or insensitive. Like I say we try our best with an alien situation for us all. Some people have never dealt with a person with cancer before and really don’t have a clue, why would they? I had never heard of metastatic cancer before and was unaware that there is no stage 5. I dare say some of you people wouldn’t have known before you were diagnosed and probably made unintentional comments too. However, it has been a learning curve and has made me and others very aware of cancer signs so if there can be any positives out of an awful situation then it’s awareness. Be kind to each other

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 19:05 in response to Moderator Sarah

A Christian friend has just said to me, (half an hour after receiving my diagnosis from my consultant) ‘God controls my cancer and that I should pray for healing because she’s heard of lots of miraculous cures’.  Worse, that I should ‘deny what’s happening physically and think positive thoughts and pray’

I responded by saying ‘God has sent me all the Doctors and nurses involved in my care and that ‘healing’ is not the same as ‘cure’.  At this stage, if it were a choice, I would rather trust convential medicine over the ‘laying on of hands’ - but they dont need to be mutually exclusive!

It seems having got many different responses from family, colleagues and friends, I’m spending more time managing other peoples emotions than my own!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 20:58 in response to Addybrook4

Wow just wow. God controls your cancer? In that case did your friend’s “god” give you the cancer? That really is an awful thing to say. Keep strong and good luck with your treatment x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 21:09 in response to jukeboxjulie

Thanks jukeboxjulie

This is going to be a very interesting journey.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 21:13 in response to Addybrook4

Unfortunaetly that is what the doc keeps telling me....it will be a long journey...Hope I get to 5 yrs remision and 10 year cure without getting a second cancer although a nurse did say most get a second cancer

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 22:22 in response to rocker

That nurse should not have said that! Everyday more folk are beating it & medicine & sciens are discovering new drugs etc.  I'm 7 years from diagnosis. I've had bad luck with reconstruction on my breast & only last Monday had my implants taken out and capsular contracture cut away then implant back in  my 5th op to correct things & I feel folk think I'm having these ops for cosmentic reasons!  I'm more worried about getting Dementia & losing my hearing like my wee mammy did than cancer coming back! I could not live in silence & I'd hate to have to be cared for by family and not know who they were etc.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

10 May 2019 23:09 in response to weeme56

I agree the nurse should not of said anything but when I told the doc and his assistant they did not agree or say not true.

I am glad you are doing ok. I sometimes think implants should not be used and we should live as we are...even if it not the best

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

11 May 2019 18:57 in response to Addybrook4

... and you still describe her as a friend? Wink 

An aged Aunt once told me that my son's severe autism and my cancer were "God's way of testing your faith" - my "It's a good job I'm an atheist then" response was ignored lol

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

11 May 2019 21:02 in response to davek

Great response. It amazes me how brainwashed people can be that they have no thought for others

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

3 Aug 2019 22:30 in response to max56

Hi

This is a great forum thread! Just found it and it's made me laugh a lot - thank you! 

One thing I would say is having been on both sides - trying to find the right thing to say to a friend who had cancer when I didn't (I failed miserably), and now have my own cancer and knowing how annoying the wrong words can be.

It's a minefield, but I do have sympathy for those that mean well but fall short. However, some people are clearly just total idiots and should reconsider opening their mouths before they do.

A couple of classics I've had:

"We could all bit hit by a bus tomorrow". Yup we could, but I have cancer, and you haven't been hit by a bus yet so...

"Do you think your drinking contributed to your cancer?" I don't know maybe, but either way how is that helpful or going to make me feel better right now?

Keep posting. 

x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Aug 2019 08:18 in response to Anotherday

I was breaking the news to close family members and one said “have you chosen the hymns for your funeral?”  

I was breaking the news to another close family member and they said “good job you’re a strong woman so you can carry the rest of this through this!”

Honestly I can’t imagine why people are so stupid. . . .

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Aug 2019 08:56 in response to Hellosweetie

Hi all, my (friends and family,) all know I'm not curable,, but when they come up to you and say you're looking well your cancer must have gone,did that last treatment work I've been to told it quite a few times by FRIENDS but never by family,... Billy 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Aug 2019 09:20 in response to Billygoat

I’m so sorry to hear that Billygoat, just because you look well doesn’t mean the incurable is cured.  If it was suddenly curable you would have told them. Oh dear, people mean well but say the oddest things.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Aug 2019 13:29 in response to Hellosweetie

Hi sweetie I think people open thear mouth before they've switched on their brain,, best wishes.... Billy 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

11 Aug 2019 13:56 in response to Hellosweetie

Frickin idiots :)) Lovely to be able to share these stories though. Hope like me they give you some relief. Dark humour I think it's called.xx