100 Things you DO NOT say to People Who Have Cancer
February 27, 2016, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Cancer, Uncategorized


copyright @Celebrate Life08 2014

Knowing what to say to those who have cancer can sometimes be very challenging. Sometimes, too much concentration on what to say can bring out horrible results.

Each comment listed here is real. There are people all over the country who have heard these words at some point and time during their bout with cancer.

I am a true witness to cruel words and actions when I went through cancer and chemotherapy treatments. It is my desire that this section will help someone weigh their words before spewing them out on unsuspecting victims.

There were days I wanted to say, “Are you serious?” but I soon discovered it was easier to shake the dust off my feet and keep it moving.

If you find that you have been guilty of making any of these comments to someone that has cancer, please do not hesitate to apologize.

I listed each comment in a category that seem to fit it more appropriately.

For Better or Worse

  1. Young lady diagnosed with cancer a few weeks from getting married, when everyone found out she had cancer, her phone rang off the hook with questions like, “so, are you still getting married?”
  2. Are you going to buy another dress? Does your fiancée still want to get married? They all forgot to ask her how she was doing.
  3. The husband that plans a weeklong trip out of town and forgets to make arrangements for his wife to get to her chemo appointments
  4. Wife going through chemo and husband says to her, “there is nothing wrong with you except you’re fat and lazy.’
  5. The husband that drops his wife off at chemo the first day and leaves. As time passes the wife wonders why he is so late returning so she calls him on his cell. His response to her is, “I can’t do this, I’m not coming back home.”
  6. The husband that says to his wife who is recuperating from a mastectomy, “Now what do you expect me to do now? I have needs also.”
  7. The husband that drops his wife off at chemo while he’s golfing
  8. The husband that spends too much time looking at the waitress boobs as if his bilateral mastectomy wife is not at the table
  9. A wife is not feeling well on one of her treatment days, she asked her husband to stay with her because she is alone. His reply was, I’ve already scheduled this golf game and I told the guys I would be there.

What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander

  1. Conversation via phone with a friend, “You are a woman of God, you can handle this.” The very next week the same friend had the flu and handled it as if she had one foot in the grave.

About 1,228,600 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed. Since 1990, approximately 11 million new cancer cases have been diagnosed.

  1. Why do you need so much help? You’re not sick, you just have cancer.

Friend Reassessments

Out of sight out of mind and when they see you at the end of your battle they then ask, “Is there anything I can do?

The silent ones are the killers. They never acknowledge that it actually happened

The friend that still holds a grudge because you did not tell them first that you had cancer, so they cut your friendship

“If I could, I would take this pain for you.” (When the statement was made it was the last time this person was seen)

“I know I didn’t visit when you were sick but I couldn’t stand to see you that way.

You have ruined my Christmas, you couldn’t wait until afterwards to give me your news?

Definition of Remission: temporary recovery

You tell them God has healed you and they say, “Are you in remission?”


They are probably psychologically-wounded survivors of early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse – Grown Wounded Children (GWCs). Where this is true, they cannot help or control their lack of empathy, so reasoning, pleading, and demanding they be more sensitive is like trying to persuade an addict to “get sober.” The most tragic GWC wound is an inability to feel and bond with other people. Once they’ve hit true bottom and admit their wounds, typical GWCs can reduce them over time. (Peter K. Gerlach, MSW)

Constantly use the term “looking like a cancer patient” knowing that you are going through cancer.

We all got to die from something, it might as well be cancer.

If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my time eating healthy because you still got cancer

Don’t make it such a big deal, women go through this every day.

The daughter in-law that demands her husband’s attention even when his mother is in transition for heaven.

Constantly remind you that you don’t need to take chemo because you are going to die anyway

After chemo and someone ask, “Why is your hair so gray? You look older than me

“We all got to die from something, it might as well be cancer.”

“Why are women so attached to their breast? It’s only a set of breast, get over it!”

Boyfriend gets in heated argument with his young girlfriend who has come through breast cancer. He blurts out, “I hope the cancer comes back to your organs next time

Cancer has left a patient with Lymphedema causing her arm to swell. She has to wear a brace on the arm. A random woman in grocery store asked what in the world is wrong with your arm?

“It’s only Breast Cancer, some people are dying from brain cancer”

You mention how bad your bone pain hurts and they shrug it off like a broken fingernail.

“I guess this is your cross you have to bear it”

“You must have done something wrong to get cancer”

“My grandma died from this kind of cancer.”

The friend that says, “My hats off to you, I don’t think I could look like that.” (Referencing your bald head)

“My sister took chemo and it killed her.”

When you’re planning for the next year and someone says to you, “You may not be here next year.”

You are not the only person with cancer

That chemo is killing you. Why in the world would you take it?


The family member who always remind you how their pain is on the same level as yours

When you break the news to a family member that you have cancer and they respond. “Wow,” and continue the conversation on another subject.

Church has to clean your house as the family complains about them being there

The adult children that continue to ask mom to babysit while she’s going through treatment and gets angry when she says no.

On chemo day no one in your family ask how your day went.

Close family members who never call to check on you during the entire cancer journey but when they see you they cannot stay long because they have to check on a friend that has cancer.


“My Aunt had cancer and she didn’t go through all of this.

-The ones that visit you in the hospital and never ask how you are doing but describe their every ache and pain before they leave

-Your hair is pretty wish mine were like yours

-She had chemo 1 year ago, why she the only one still having side effects

-You were the best one to get this disease because you’re strong and I’m too weak to handle something like this


-The person that goes through surgery, chemo, and radiation and can count on 2 fingers how many times they received a hug or heard the words, “I love you.”

-When a person is going through cancer and chemo every mistake or action is blamed on their situation

-“I know you’re going through surgery, chemo and radiation but don’t forget your husband still have needs also.

-You know they say most people die after 5 years of getting cancer


-“Breast cancer is common now, nobody is really dying from it”

-The people who stop by to visit after your surgery and they spend the entire time staring at your chest.

-The disgruntled guest that refused to use hand sanitizer when visiting you so they turned around and went back to their car, ending the visit.

-I don’t understand why some women look so bad going through cancer, Robin Roberts always look pretty

-Whispering loudly to her friend, “I think she has Aids”

-Forcing food on a patient with severe nausea

-“Do you think you will get better?” (This is said after they spent 20 minutes praying for the person)

-Pressure is placed upon you to be a goody two shoe or your cancer will come back

-The clerk that says, “How are you today sir?” other than being bald you look nothing like a man. When you bring it to his attention he say, “You never know these days.”

-When the person beside you in a public place gets up and move because they think you are contagious

-When a man know that you’ve had a mastectomy and he will not look at you when he’s talking to you.

-There she goes pulling the cancer card again

-You can tell she eats too much. How is she gaining weight and she takes chemo.

-Being offered cures for cancer from those who are not doctors. When you refuse their remedies they reply, “Alright, this would’ve help you live longer.”

“Those doctors do not know what they are doing. You would be better off treating yourself.”

“You know, once cancer always cancer.”


-They are the ones that want you to feel privileged because you got a free boob job

-Lady diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and her friend says to her, “I would not take the chemo, neither would I allow them to cut my breast off.


-When they ask to see your mastectomy wound

-Employer to lady who is back one week off leave from going through cancer, “I’m sorry we will have to release you because your performance has gone down.

-What has God said to you about your cancer?

-Nurse comes in the room with your records. Patient has been cancer free for 10 years and because the nurse did not take time to read over the records she ask, “So how is your cancer.”

-The clock watcher: schedules their visit for 10 minutes exactly. Never take off their coat and watch the clock the entire time. When they leave you’re tired from watching them.

-The one that boldly comes out and asked the question, “are you going to die?”

-You’ve finished chemo and made the decision to continue wearing your hair short. You continue to have the questioned asked, “So, your hair wouldn’t grow back?”

-The pastor that asked the lady going through cancer to step down from her position

-The employer that hassles the lady going through chemo and having to continue working as she is taking treatment

-“Why would you cut your hair that short?”

-When you announce that you have breast cancer the person begin to cry and say, “You’re not finished yet. You are too young to die.

-Someone sees you and really want to give you a nice compliment, they look at the baldhead, sunken eyes and swollen cheeks and say, “Nice earrings”

-Said to a person with cancer that is taking chemo, “Why are you so tired? It’s not like you go to work every day.”

-At least when you get to heaven you won’t have to deal with this anymore. (This was said to a person who was just diagnosed.

-You are always helping others, how could you get cancer?

-Are you applying for disability?

-How does your husband feel about this?


-You shouldn’t get your breast removed because it will take away from your womanhood

-You should consider your husband’s feelings before you make the decision to have your breast removed

-One lady advising a woman who has just been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, “A woman’s breast is what makes her a nurturer God would not have you remove them. (Mind you she is talking to a grandmother)

-Just think positive and it will go away

-The caller that begins each conversation with…You need to……..

-The random lady that knows you had a mastectomy and during your recovery says, “Hold your head up high, I know you are ashamed but you’re still beautiful. Hold your shoulders back and be proud.”

-You strong, you can handle this. It will soon be over.

-Don’t let them do surgery because once they cut you it’s over




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