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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

 

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

11 Apr 2017 15:05 in response to KatieZ
hi Katie re chemo get where you are coming from the gift that keeps giving eh ! I feel worse some days than when I had cancer with chemo you expect to feel ill but when its over you think you will get back to your old self nah never happen you have been on a journey that changes you and are a different person before and after people don't understand that although in some fantastic and happy cases we get remission or a cure but for 6 months your body has been lambasted with chemicals that was used as an agent of war takes some getting over for sure best wishes to you Katie xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

27 May 2017 19:59 in response to davek
Hi, I'm a newbie. Dave, I love your sense of humour, a real tonic! All of you; I admire so much your endurance and resilience, it gives me strength. No, I'm not saying you're brave!!! I had ca breast 8 years ago, now thankfully in remission after chemo and XRT. Now I have Dukes stage B ca colon, awaiting chemo. I have had the most wonderful care from the hospitals and my lovely family--feel blessed. I have endured many ignorant insensitive and cruel remarks over the years. At first I was crushed and hurt. Now I give as good as I get. Why should I have to put up with the hurt when it is I dealing with this horrible disease? The worst instances were being told of friends/familiymember's cancer experiences, usually ending with death, plus real abuse when using disabled toilets. I look really fit, and they think that gives them the right to judge. The very worst abuse came from mothers with babies (baby changing in same toilet) and even a grandmother. I just wipe the floor with them and it feels really good, though I am always upset inside.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

27 May 2017 22:49 in response to seaspirit44

Keep on wiping the floor with them, don't feel bad - you've earned the right to fight back! 

We have a son with severe autism and severe learning disabilities - the cr@p we were expected to put up with when using disabled parking spaces with him was unbelievable. Especially when he was having a good day with no severe behavioural problems. 

My pet experience is "what sort of cancer do you have?" 'Oesophagus (or whatever)' "Oh, my uncle had that, he died, they all do ... Oh, I didn't mean you will, I'm sure you'll be fine!".

 

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

27 May 2017 23:28 in response to davek
Thanks Dave, really helps! What an awful thing to say to you. I've not had one that bad. What did you say?

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 May 2017 09:42 in response to Moderator Sarah

My husband died a couple of months ago after a year long battle with bladder cancer. A month or so before he died his sister said to him 'where has my bonny little brother gone'. This is the same woman who said my husband should put her before me and his family because she was 'blood'. After he died she thought she should decide everything because she had known him the longest. There are many other things I could say about her self absorbtion and lack of tact but I'm trying not to dwell on her too much.

I can totally empathise with Seaspirit regarding using disabled toilets. I had abdominal radiotherapy for cervical cancer 18 months ago and have had trouble with my bowels since then and have suffered abuse for using disabled toilets even at the cancer centre.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 May 2017 10:53 in response to Barleydog
Hi Barleydog, I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband and the unnecessary trauma you endured from a seifish ignorant family member. What can you do except stand up for your rights and defend yourself? Wishing you love and strength. So sorry you have had to contend with cancer yourself on top of everything else. What is it about disabled toilets? Seems to bring out the worst in people!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

28 May 2017 21:20 in response to seaspirit44

I don't think the forum rules allow me to repeat exactly what I said Happy Let's just say at least one of the words used was of Anglo-Saxon origin lol

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

31 May 2017 20:02 in response to seaspirit44

Thank you Seaspirit.

Unless you have an obvious physical disability people make assumptions that you are jumping queues, or being lazy. It's small minded and these days I don't care what anyone thinks. X

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

31 May 2017 22:31 in response to Moderator Sarah

I so agree, nothing winds me up more than someone saying "now what youve got to do is keep yourself occupied, get out and carry on as usual, hello, if it was that easy dont you think id be doing that, just getting myself out of bed in the morning can sometimes feel like ive done a marathon, i know people are only trying to  help, but i wish theyd think before they opened thier mouth, 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 16:39 in response to Moderator Sarah

Love this it has actually bought me to tears! 

Ive not yet had a diagnosis but I've been told I need my nipple and areole removed at least. The biopsy and scans will determine the rest. As I left the breast clinic my husband went to high five me because I'm likely to not need a full radial mastectomy. I could of punched him right in the nuts. I got home and told my sister in law the news by messenger and she replied .... Cool! Followed by a picture of her new puppy. 

I am relieved I'm not the only one to be angered first by the injustice of cancer and secondly by the sheer lack of tact from the people in our lives. I'm not usually an angry person but I'm so cross right now

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 16:55 in response to Laraine1
This is a great thread!! I'm sorry you have had such unhelpful responses from your family. Let out your anger. You have a right. They need educating!! Hugs and healing, seaspirit xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 22:29 in response to Laraine1

Hi

I have recently been diagnosed with a solitary bone plasmacytoma. This is the better of two that it could have been but is still pretty scary and the 5 - 10 year prognosis isn't cheerful.  People try to say the right thing when they find out but it is hard for them.

The treatment for this type is 5 weeks of radiotherapy 5 days a week,  I know this is a lot better than other types but it still scares me.  Still working currently although in a lot of pain with it as it is in my ribs so breathing is hard work.  Let the office know that I would work up until the start of treatment and would then be taking two months off and my business partners words were "That's good, you can get loads done at home.  We can come to yours for meetings".  Felt like screaming "I HAVE CANCER" at him but just said "We will see how it goes". Actually made me feel guilty about taking time off to get it sorted.

The other thing that doesn't work for me is when people tell me that I am strong and can fight it.  To me it seems that I am just a passenger and don't have a lot of choice as to how to fight it.

This thread has made me chuckle though Happy

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 22:37 in response to NAB
How insensitive! You can't say what you really want to in a work situation, unfortunately. Have a good moan and offlload here! Good luck xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 22:52 in response to seaspirit44

Yes it does seem to help Happy

You too.  Like you I am lucky that my family have been so supportive although my wife spent the last seven weeks in denial.  Because it is an unusual one I had 3 biopsies before actual confirmation and she really thought it was something else bless her.  We have been on very different pages.

I don't have the problem with disabled toilets but struggle to bend down.  Constantly making excuses at the check out in shops as to why I am not helping putting the bags in the trolley.  

The other thing that I find really funny is that one of the most common things that people say to me is "Well, you look really well anyway".... Brilliant... Glad I look well.  That being said it is better than the alternative Happy

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

5 Jun 2017 23:32 in response to NAB
Lol . Stay well!!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jun 2017 01:07 in response to NAB

You look well,is a killer,I get this every day,it makes me want to apply white powder to my face,and coal dust under my eyes,(only joking),people don't really understand,or know what to say to us,bless,and I find lots want to touch me,even if it's only to put their hand on my arm,just to connect,but the wicked side of me is always present,and I love the humour of this site,cheers.x

 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jun 2017 02:42 in response to 38g

Lol.  May give the powder and dust a go!  Best wishes, Nick.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jun 2017 07:09 in response to 38g
Exactly, I get that all of the time. I say to them that I look ok on the outside but it is the stuff inside causing the problem!!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jun 2017 08:29 in response to NAB

I find it reassuring that your wife was also in denial. So it's normal and he's not just insensitive! My husband seems to brush it under the carpet every time I mention it. all I get is ...well you don't really know yet do you ... I have a tumour and I've been told I am having a lumpectomy of my breast. they don't know for sure what kind of cancer but 99% of the time a necrotising tumour is malignant so I'm just being realistic. I've had cancer before I met him so I kinda know the drill. 

Any positive news from here on in is welcomed, but I'm preparing my self for a rollercoaster, it's like we are at the theme park in the queue for the scariest ride and he still doesn't believe we are about to get on it. 

I do however beilieve I'm going to get off it, I might look a bit disheveled at the end but I will dust myself off as usual. 

I also get the well she looks fine to me comments.. I've had fluid on the brain for five years causing visual and hearing disturbances, severe pain and neurological difficulties, I have had around 60 lumbar punctures which have left my spinal chord scarred and cause me mobility issues and severe pain in my hips legs and feet. But because I do my hair and make up and present with a bubbly personality I'm fine. .. No I'm not it's the butrans patch and the oramorph that get me to that point of looking ok... Now I'm facing breast cancer too and I get a high five from my hubby because I Might not need a full mastectomy! 

Thing is he is a great husband, I just think he is trying to keep me upbeat, but I need something different from him at the moment. I don't know what it is though, which makes it ten times worse. 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jun 2017 18:43 in response to Laraine1

Hi

Firstly sorry you have been through so much already and have to face it again.  Good luck with everything.

I am thinking pretty much the same way.  Would rather be armed with all the information, be realistic and then be pleasantly surprised.  It is difficult because what we think is good news is not always the same thing.

My treatment has been delayed as they have seen something else in the results.  Waiting for this to come back but hoping it is OK and that the prognosis remains the same.  The alternatives are not as good but would rather know and get on with it.  (I say that now but who knows how I am going to feel on this ride!).  9 weeks of not knowing now.

It is a worrying and stressful time. 

Thoughts are with you. 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jun 2017 19:38 in response to NAB
Laraine1 and NAB, my thoughts are with both of you xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 11:00 in response to Moderator Sarah

I had a horrible comment to me on Sunday at work probably said no intention to hurt me, but I was asked when my husband and I last had sex ?  That did hurt as I have only diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 2 for a week plus the girl knows that my husband is type 1 diabetic and something don't work like they used to 

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 11:08 in response to Limesbabe
Hi Limesbabe, that is utterly appalling. You must have been so upset. Did you tell the person what a dreadful thing that was to say? Probably you were too upset and just had to swallow it. Keep posting on here- it does so help. Hugs, Seaspirit xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 11:12 in response to seaspirit44

I was upset and I said back to her, when did you last have sex ? as she's single and then she just changed the subject

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 12:49 in response to Limesbabe
Well done, she got the message!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 13:00 in response to Limesbabe

This is absolutely appalling and I feel for you. To be honest irrispective of your own diagnosis or your husband's diabetes this person has no sensitivity whatsoever in Even asking such a question. I am sure you were too upset and shocked to consider a reply but 'mind your own business' comes into my mind.

May I  wish you all the best with your treatment and send you a virtual hug. Jules54

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 15:13 in response to seaspirit44

Thank you Happy

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 15:18 in response to jules54

I don't know quite to say except for what i did say and she said in front of 1 other carer and 1 senior carer as well, and she is a senior carer herself  but only 23 and shes don't really emotional things, don't really know why she does caring. Well i shalt be as friendly towards her as i have been. i have to do as she says when she is the senior in charge but i am slowly going to wash my hand of her.

 

Thanks you for your wishes on my treatment and virtual hug back

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

20 Jun 2017 17:34 in response to Moderator Sarah

Hi

ive only just been told I have it and it's spread so I'm early stages no proper diagnosis or treatment plan yet.as it's in my spine I spend most days in bed I'm in total shock as I was working 3 weeks ago.ive already had the some comments that I think are worrying me more.

i do feel for people who generally are gon smacked but some people are rude.. but reading these I'm ready for my replies ... 

 

thanks 

francesca

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

21 Jun 2017 08:22 in response to Moderator Sarah

You'll be fine, you are so healthy (apart from having cancer...)