Let’s get one thing out of the way straight away. Cancer sucks. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
It’s scary, and confusing and downright awful. But when you’re a cancer patient, you can’t live your life thinking so negatively every day. Instead, we decide to take the piss out of our situation and the aspects of our treatment. I’ve had cancer twice, so I’m speaking from experience when I say we see the humour in everything, even if everyone around us is filled with grief and melancholy. We receive a lot of calls and messages every day from people who are unsure as to what to say, but say it anyway.
Here are a handful of things NOT to say to your friend/relative/loved one with cancer:
- “You’re so inspiring”
Literally, this one is a killer. Have you guys seen this video? No? Watch it.
Similarly, to what Stella said, having cancer doesn’t automatically make me noble and amazing. If you find me inspiring, you should be inspired by yourself just living and breathing each day because that’s all I’m trying to do. Sure, maybe if I was fighting cancer whilst doing a handstand on a moving train, balancing my IV drip on my foot, that’d be a little inspirational… But I don’t see that happening.
- Don’t talk about cancer stuff when you see them
I spend all day talking about my scans, appointments and medicines to my doctors and nurses, I don’t want to come home and repeat the same things over again. Tell me how much you hate that Sarah bitch, or about the cute guy you met at the gym the other day. Chances are I need a break from all the clinical crap and that’s where you can come in. What a gem.
- Don’t ask if there’s ‘anything you can do’
Unless you can give me a new lymphatic system (one that isn’t riddled with cancer) then it’s a no from me. Instead of asking such a broad question that I can so easily take the piss out of – use your common sense and comfort your friend, whether that be by bringing over a movie, snacks, a magazine or even your plain old self to keep them company. Doing something, rather than asking what you can do is 110% more thoughtful and helpful.
- Don’t try to sell me alternate medicine
I don’t want to hear about the miraculous pills your aunt’s friend’s nephew’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s girlfriend took and is now cured. I have a team of about 20 doctors, nurses and surgeons who spend days and nights conjuring up scientific and proven ways to cure me. I might stick with that, survival rates sound quite promising to me.
- “I can totally relate because my grandpa had lung cancer/my dog had cancer/my