40 Avoidable Things Not To Say To A Cancer Patient

Finding the appropriate words to say to a cancer patient can be difficult, as people may have the best intentions but may struggle to communicate appropriately.

I want to help by sharing a list of the top 40 things not to say to a cancer patient. When a cancer patient receives a life-changing diagnosis, it’s natural to rush in with well-meaning phrases and encouraging thoughts. However, it’s important to avoid saying the wrong thing. Some common words that can be helpful include “How are you?”, which can be both universally annoying and more individual.

A cancer diagnosis can also make friends and family members very silent, leading to well-intentioned but inappropriate remarks. Some may even completely shun the cancer patient, which can cause more suffering than if they made a mistaken statement or action.

Things Not To Say To A Cancer Patient

  1. I know exactly how you feel.

  2. Congratulations, you are through treatment, and now your life can go back to normal.

  3. Just stay positive, everything will be fine.

  4. It’s only hair, it will grow back

  5. Have you tried this miracle cure I heard about?

  6. It’s probably just a phase, don’t worry too much.

  7. The stress of [your divorce, bereavement, job loss] probably caused your cancer.

  8. You shouldn’t be feeling down, think about those who have it worse.

  9. You must have done something to cause this.

  10. You’re so brave, I could never handle what you’re going through.

  11. It’s all in your head.

  12. Maybe you should have exercised more/eaten more vegetables, etc.

  13. At least you’ll lose weight.

  14. My cousin had the same cancer and she was cured

  15. You should be grateful for the time you have left.

  16. My aunt/friend/neighbor had cancer and they…

  17. You shouldn’t be complaining, there are people going through worse.

  18. You look so good for someone with cancer.

  19. I don’t know how you do it! You’re handling this so well.

  20. Why are you still working? You should be focusing on your health.

  21. I read somewhere that cancer is just a fungus.

  22. I heard about this new treatment, you should try it instead of chemo.

  23. “Everything happens for a reason.

  24. God never gives you more than you can handle

  25. You brought this on yourself.

  26. You should be positive and fight harder.

  27. I can’t believe you’re still eating junk food, you should change your diet.

  28. I knew someone who died from the same type of cancer.

  29. Be happy you got the good cancer.

  30. Just think happy thoughts and you’ll get better.

  31. You don’t look sick.

  32. Are you sure you need to take all those medications?

  33. God is testing you.

  34. You should be grateful for the experience, it’ll make you stronger.

  35. You should try alternative medicine instead.

  36. Why are you spending so much money on treatment? It’s not worth it.

  37. You’re lucky you get to rest all day.

  38. It’s probably just stress, you should relax more.

  39. How long do you have to live?

  40. I know someone with your type of cancer. They died

Alternatively you can say:

  1. I’m here for you, no matter what.

  2. How are you feeling today? I’m here to listen.

  3. You’re incredibly strong, and I admire your resilience.

  4. It’s okay to have ups and downs, and I’m here to support you through it all.

  5. This must be a lot to handle. I was specifically impressed by the way you are taking it.

  6. I’m bringing over dinner tonight so you don’t have to worry about cooking.

  7. You’re not alone in this journey; I’ll be by your side every step of the way.

  8. Let me know if there’s anything specific I can do to make your day easier.

  9. I believe in your ability to overcome this challenge.

  10. I’m sending positive thoughts and energy your way.

  11. I can’t begin to understand, and I don’t know what to say, but I am here for you.

  12. Would you like to talk about how you’re feeling, or would you prefer a distraction?

  13. You are so much more than your diagnosis, and I see your strength shining through.

  14. I’m here to support you in any decision you make regarding your treatment.

  15. I’m going to the store. Is there anything specific you need or want?

  16. Your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to express them.

  17. What are you and your doctor thinking of doing? Can I drive you to your appointment or sit with you during chemo?

  18. I’ll be your advocate whenever you need someone to speak up for you.

  19. You inspire me with your courage and grace during this challenging time.

  20. It’s okay to take things one day at a time. I’ll be here with you, no matter what.

  21. I’m here to provide a shoulder to lean on whenever you need it.

  22. You’re not defined by your illness. I see the beautiful person you are.

  23. I love you, and I’m here to support you in any way I can.

  24. I’m sorry you had to go through this. What happens now? 

  25. I’m not sure what to say right now, but I want you to know I love you.

it’s crucial to approach conversations with cancer patients with empathy, sensitivity, and understanding. While the intention might be to offer support or advice, certain phrases can unintentionally cause harm or discomfort.

By avoiding these 40 statements, we can create a more supportive and comforting environment for cancer patients, where they feel understood, respected, and empowered on their journey towards healing. Instead, let’s strive to offer genuine support, active listening, and unconditional love to those facing the challenges of cancer, ensuring they feel valued and supported every step of the way

Leave a Comment