Together we will beat cancer


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

6 Apr 2015 00:32 in response to Moderator Sarah

The most irritating of the 12 things not to say, is friends passing on well meaning magic treatment cures. Carrot juice, manuka honey, exotic extracts of jungle plants, magnetic bracelets, hypnotherapy, prayer, homeopathic medicine, keto diets. If any of these actually worked dont they think that the medical staff in charge of my treatment would be recommending them. A holiday in Kerela India - now your talking!

I suppose "you must keep positive" is a close second. Dont people think we try our hardest to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes losing it when the treatments and tiredness get the better of us.

As I said you have to forgive them, and not be horrible to them.

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

7 Jul 2015 15:37 in response to kimchoson

Hi all, I have read through all your posts and I too have had all the above said to me, and yes the "keep positive" one is annoying and "you might not lose your hair" which I did afte the first chemo, was told before starting chemo I would but there are those that do know better saying you might not lol.  I suppose it is right to say you have to go through it to understand but from the day of being diagnosed I still feel as if it has happened to someone else and not me, like I am looking in at myself from the outside, not making a lot of sense really.  I have finished my treatment, beginning of April, all chemo, which was absolutely gruelling and would never want to go through it again, radiotherapy on the other hand I sailed through. My hair has started to grow back and have been told today that it looks like it might be wavy, instead of straight like it was before all treatment.  I have also had one friend who came to see me once at the beginning but now makes excuses for not calling or meeting again, maybe she can't handle it I know there are some that can't.  As long as I have family and close friends who support me I can cope but I will be on tender hooks every yearly check up as well, which is understandable.  We all cope in different ways and what ever way suits us is fine

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 11:43 in response to LorraineD

Lorraine I really identify with this.  Currently going through treatment & I am sick to death of people telling me to stay positive. the next person who says this to me will certainly be hear your phrase. Thank you


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 14:50 in response to Moderator Sarah

I've had a lot of "you're so brave", only I think because I'm still alive. I dislike the language of war & battle.  I've never felt that there was an alien invading force to take on in a fight. I couldn;t regard my own body as an enemy & don't want it to become a battleground. Military terms are very common, doctors do it, but it's the wrong language to say to me. I'm not a brave warrior.

I've also had the "it's your fault because you smoke" line. Someone thought my thyroid was in my throat & therefore thyroid cancer was caused by smoking. I know smoking is the cause of many terrible things but blaming the patient for somthing they've done doesn't help. (I'm now officially described as an ex-smoker, so what else have I done wrong?!) .

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 17:10 in response to kimchoson

@kimchosen by coincidence I had a trip to Goa (Palolem) just as I finished my chemo - even that led to some strange questions about alternative medicine.
Q. "Are you going there for Ayurvedic treatment/Yoga/meditation"
A. No it is freezing here, the chemo has left me knackered and extremely sensitive to cold. I need a ******** holiday on a tropical beach with copious amounts of beer and curry neither of which I could enjoy whilst on chemo!"

@littlebopeep & @mouse - I'm afraid I've been guilty of telling people to stay positive, partly because the lure of the dark side can lead to bad decisions 

@eciguser - so far I've not been told to "be a brave little soldier" but the patronising cr@p I've heard has been close. To paraphrase Peter Griffin - the use of military terms in civilian situations really grinds my gears! I was never in the military but I have worked in a war zone and listening to idiots in management (who have never done anything more dangerous than cross the road when the green man was flashing) trying to inspire their pen-pushing minions by telling them they need to get tough in the front line just makes me giggle and make sneering remarks about trench warfare and firing squads at dawn! 

I must go and make some green tea, sweetened with manuka honey, to wash down my Japanese seaweed on spelt bread leavened with natural yeast! 

PS - I read recently that dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium which helps keep the immune system vital ... yummy now THAT's a superfood I will believe in Happy




12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 20:54 in response to davek


Had a 'nice' comment from a 'lady' in a car park last week. Hubbie asked her very politely if she would mind closing her car door so that we could park in the roomy space next to her. He explained that we had forgotten my blue badge but I needed a bit of space to get out of the car.  When I was out of the car she said 'well you dont look very disabled to me?'. I asked if having a brain tumour, terminal cancer and a liver operation the week before qualified me as being disabled enough for her?  She retorted with some more unpleasantries.  Aren't there some wonderfully understanding people in the world!!!!!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 22:15 in response to Moderator Sarah

Surprising how many of those I've heard already and I've only been diagnosed just over 2 weeks!

The responses did make me smile!

A friend said "but how are you out shopping and mooching about?" My response was "well, what should I be doing then?" .My cancer doesn't affect my legs or the use of my debit card!

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

13 Jul 2015 23:32 in response to max56

@max56 - there is a space in Hell reserved for people who make sneering comments about people "not looking disabled enough" to have a blue badge.  
Our youngest son has extreme autism with SLD and (as a child) severely hyperactive (I'm talking Hussain Bolt on speed here). The snide remarks were pretty common - you can either rise above it or respond and risk making the situation worse. Sadly as a teen I was taught that retribution is the essence of self preservation and I have never been mature enough to rise above it :-)
Weirdly the most understanding people were traffic wardens - maybe they are trained to be aware that not all disabilities are visible?


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

14 Jul 2015 00:10 in response to davek


I am afraid I wasnt wise enough to rise above it and unsavoury words about reproduction and bovines flew out of my mouth before my brain caught up.  It didnt help the situation at all but I sure felt good! x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

14 Jul 2015 08:32 in response to max56

Oh Max, it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant some people are.  Whether disabled or not, it was a polite question by hubby (who must have been thrown by her onslaught)  and you gave her as good as you got - I would have too!!!

No where near as important but have had 'words' with those who park in parent and baby spots 'because it was closer!!' never giving a thought to how just a little more space to get the child out of the car in safety is important.

As to the blue badge issue my hubby had one (hated having to use it ) and was  told as he could walk he probably did not need one(in supermarket  car park).  He was a man of few words but came back with - perhaps you would like to swap your parking space for terminal cancer though I would not wish my illness on 'EVEN YOU'.  Nonetheless hubby sat in the car whilst I shopped and was understandably upset.  This got worse when I came across the same guy inside the supermarket who then asked me if my husband had moved his car (he was rightly  parked in disabled parking!)  as someone 'more disabled would appreciate it!!!  I told this person that having terminal cancer entitled him to disabled parking when available and he did not need selfish  (sorry for next word) a------------'s  making his already vulnerable world even smaller.  It still upsets me when I think about it.

Sending big hugs to those who really deserve them.xxxxJules


12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Apr 2016 07:28 in response to Moderator Sarah

Hi All ...... well, I have a little story about what one of my husband's friends said to him this week.  He and his partner owned a dog and unfortunately 2wks ago it collapsed - after tests they were told the dog had leukemia and it sadly passed away five days later.  We knew he was extremely fond of his dog and rang him several times, Andy visited and was generally very supportive - which his friend has rarely been to him/me, although I understand fully that not everyone finds that easy.

He must have been thinking about his lack of support because he said to Andy this week - thanks so much for all you have done to help this last few weeks - it has been an awful time - and got me thinking that I had not really realised what you and Max had been going through with her cancer and incurable diagnosis. I understand now.  Andy very politely pointed out that losing your "soulmate" of 40yrs who has given you two beautiful children, always worked and been a good Mum and Wife is maybe a little different than losing the family pet.  Our income has gone as have savings, Andy cannot work due to caring for me etc etc - and all the other things that we all know go along with a cancer diagnosis and terminal prognosis.  I must be very weird because it really made me laugh (not the dogs death obviously) but just that someone really is so genuinely thinking that way.  Bless him!

Take care everyone x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Apr 2016 08:03 in response to max56

Hi Max

Weird is good if it keeps you smiling/laughing my virtual friend and great that you are able to share it with us on the forum too.  My hubby often said that many of his 'friends' (I would have added his siblingsWink) had 'no understanding' of the feelings of others as they only thought about how it would affect them.  I think this is why he chose not to talk about how he really felt with them - somewhat sad but true nonetheless.

Sending virtual hugs to you, Andy and children.  Jules xx

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Apr 2016 08:41 in response to jules54

Hi Jules ......... after a  very awful month of in and out of hospital with various problems, as of Monday I finally felt as though it was getting back to normal.  I started to catch up on things that needed doing - reluctant to asking Andy for help as he has been so worried and busy with me.  I took down the long heavy lounge curtains to wash (after far too long I must add).  One curtain went in the machine and it was so heavy when I tried to remove it that I pulled all my tum muscles , or something liver related, and am now in agony again - I feel so angry with myself for being so stubborn and silly!

I looked on beautiful pictures this morning Jules and your garden is beautiful - gardening is my favourite hobby and I so miss doing it - the garden is normally full of pots but I just havent been well enough to do it for around a year now.  What a good idea to fill your bird bath with flowers - I have one exactly the same type as you and may fill that at least.  I would love to fill the garden with bulbs for all to remember me but sadly I doubt I will reach the end of the year when spring bulbs are planted.  Who knows though, stranger things have happened!  Can you put them in any time of the year if I decided to do just one pot a week??????

So sorry to hear about your ceiling and hope you get it sorted sooner rather than later.  Much love Jules - also to your children and the little ones! Are they doing Race for Life again this year?  If so, please send me a link to the sponsor page.  xxxx




12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Apr 2016 09:41 in response to max56

Hi Max

Have sent you an e-mail with the link and a bit of a chatty rambleLaugh.  Look after yourself. Jules x

12 things never to say to someone who has cancer

8 Apr 2016 13:00 in response to Moderator Sarah

everyone says that thyroid cancer is the good one. Even if I will be on therapy forever and even if I went through very bad years, before and after the diagnosis. Yes, thanks God, I have several years ahead but nobody (far from here) can understand how you feel when you are 27 and you get cancer just 2 months after your wedding. My world was crumbling all around me! I am truly sorry for those have worst diagnosis and I understand what others want to say with "good cancer" but the word cancer is scary and dangerous, unfortunately, no matter the kind!

And I have a new entry: "Do you practice sports with regularity? On tv, one says it is a good way to prevent it!" Argh!!