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What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they are already feeling insecure and overwhelmed with heightened emotions. It’s important to consciously try to understand your intent and think about the words you say to someone who is either about to begin treatment for their cancer or is learning to navigate their space of life after cancer. Here are some interesting choices of words that I have heard and how you can better your communication with cancer patients in your life!

Have you been surprised by the things people have said to you since your blood cancer diagnosis? What have been some of the kindest and most helpful things people have said?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • levigsc
    14 hours ago

    B”H This video is soooooo spot-on!!!! Just so so true. People “google” everything these days, I think it would really be so easy for a person to check in the internet what to say and how to act when a person in their life got diagnosed… I REALLY want to thank you for making this important video, hope it will reach many many people because being told the “right” things, being offered love and caring rather than being lectured to etc. can make all the fear and the treatments and the side-effect “doable”…

  • Racheli Alkobey moderator author
    11 hours ago

    Thank you so much for your sweet words. I’m so happy that you agree and I definitely agree if people would just google “what to say”, we’d all avoid a lot of awkwardness and shaming throughout this experience!

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    11 hours ago

    Tagging @radiant-racheli <3

    Thanks for watching and leaving this beautiful comment, @levigsc. Feel free to share it with others who would benefit from watching!

  • Ann Harper moderator
    3 months ago

    My daughter was very upset by some of the things people said to her. I think most of the time people mean well but really don’t know what to say. I think as long as it comes from the heart it will be ok.

  • Mike Padjen
    4 months ago

    Racheli, right on point. At first, I had a problem with people telling me “you look so good, I would have never known you had cancer”, but got past that. The standard line I got because I have shaved my head for over a decade was “well at least you don’t have to worry about losing your hair (ha, ha)”. The words I liked to hear were, “I love you, what can I do to help” Thanksfor your post!

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