Here’s What Cancer Survivors and Patients Don’t Want to Hear From Family and Friends

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On social media, CURE® recently asked its readers to share what they want to hear from family and friends and what they don’t want to hear.

Each week on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, CURE® asks its readers to share their thoughts with a #CureConnect discussion question.

This past week, we asked: “When living with cancer, what words would you most want to hear from family and friends? What would you not want to hear?”

Here’s what some of our readers shared:

  • ““You’re an inspiration.” People are being nice and supportive, so I always say thank you, but it puts the burden on my shoulders to be happy and upbeat for them. I didn’t choose this “battle.” I struggle with it. Don’t make me pretend I don’t. Please.” – K.I.
  • “I don’t want to hear about everyone who has died from breast cancer and any pity comments. I’d love to hear we are bringing over dinner and dessert and let’s binge watch movies or it’s a beautiful day let’s go walk on the beach and grab an iced coffee.” – B.T.
  • “How are you doing? I know it comes from the heart, but just tired of answering that question.” – D.D.
  • ““When is a good time for me to drop off a meal?” versus “Let me know if you could use a meal or two.” I mean, should I call out of the blue and ask them to bring me dinner? Don’t make it awkward for the sick person.” – A.T.
  • “I would not want to hear anything that starts with the words, “Well, at least it isn’t …” Or, “If I were you, I would …” Don’t go there.” – J.D.
  • “Don’t tell me about your so and so who had cancer … and died. I was flabbergasted by the amount of times people did this to me when I was diagnosed. Even one of my nurses in the hospital did this to me. It sent me into a black hole of impending doom, and I had a full-on panic attack. I will never understand why someone would feel the need to say something like that. Also, all the times people said. “You will be OK — you’re gonna beat this” when NOBODY could make that promise. Don’t tell me I’m gonna be OK when you have no idea if I will. That also drove me mad.” – M.V.
  • “It’s been good to hear people say they will do something to help … and actually follow through to do it. The don’t list is a mile long, but the No. 1 don’t to me is playing doctor and offering unsolicited medical advice.” – A.N.
  • “Just tell me, “If you need something, I’m here for you.” Don’t tell me about an article you read that illustrated how living a “clean” diet and lifestyle can cure most cancers. My cancer has no recognized cause; it just happens. This is not because I didn’t eat/live/sleep right.” – J.S.
  • “Because I have lung cancer I hate when people automatically assumed I smoked and have that “look” like you did it to yourself. The fact is I have never smoked.” – S.M.
  • “I saw so many so-called friends just disappear. I know some people just don’t know what to say, so I appreciated those who were just present and available.” – M.N-B.

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