I see lots of articles and posts about what to say or what not to say to someone with Cancer.  Some of the advice I agree with and some of it I am not so sure I do, and I guess that is because everyone is different and what might be OK to say to one person is most definitely not OK to say to another.

You might think it was quite obvious that saying something like “My friend’s mother’s aunt’s cousin had Cancer, she died”, but actually I get this quite a lot. While it’s probably not the best thing to say,  I think when people say things like this it is because they really do not know what to say.  People get flustered when they don’t know what to say and sometimes blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, and I am pretty sure the last thing they want to do is upset or offend anyone, they may even walk away thinking “what did I say that for?!”

So what should you say when talking to someone with Cancer?  Well, I really do not want to tell you what you should or should not say, I have quite a dark sense of humour and what would be absolutely fine with me might have someone else in tears!  I might also be guilty of sometimes not knowing what to say to someone in a difficult situation, and possibly putting my foot in it, so I am not sure I am in any position to tell people what they should say.

I do have Cancer though and also know quite a few others with Cancer, so obviously I have some thoughts on this subject.  Some people are happy to talk about their Cancer, others really do not want to discuss it at all and want to talk about anything but Cancer.  The only way to know is by the talking to the person, if someone does not want to talk about it they may tell you straight they do not want to talk about it, or they might change the subject, or appear distracted or subdued.  On the other hand, they might want to talk about it, they might be relieved to talk, and they might start telling you more than you expected.  I would suggest taking their lead and going with it.

It is important to remember that someone with Cancer is still the same person they were before their diagnosis.  If your friend has a hobby, or an interest they will still enjoy doing the same things to pass time.  If you know something in the news or on social media will have made them angry, upset them or made them laugh and you would usually text or call them, then do just that because while they have Cancer life does go on and they are still living.

So really I guess what I am saying is just be you and say whatever you feel at the time, and you know what you are only human, you might put your foot in it but I am willing to bet your friend will forgive you and just be grateful of your friendship.  There is no right or wrong thing to say to someone with Cancer, and guess what, we are only human too!



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