30 Things Cancer Patients Want You To Know

1. Cancer patients are not living in a hospital attached to a puke bucket. We are ordinary, functioning people at home, at work, and in the community.

2. Tests and treatments can be time-consuming, and the best thing you can do is just go and sit with a patient.

3. Each person with cancer is different, and their journey is unique. Comparing their experience to other loved ones with the disease does not mean it will work for them.

4. Don’t say, “If you’re gonna get cancer, that’s the one you want to get."

5. Acknowledge a patient's negative experiences and emotions and avoid toxic positivity. The best thing you can do is listen and be there.

6. We do enjoy connecting with other warriors and survivors.

7. We rely heavily on our doctors for advice, and making medical choices isn't always easy. Those in chemotherapy or radiation treatments already chose that route, and it's insensitive to suggest a miracle cure through foods, drinks, or herbs with scare tactics and insensitive comments regarding our medical choices. Strive to educate and share but don't be obtrusive.
8. We don’t want pity or warrior stories. We appreciate humor, encouragement, compassion, and companionship.

9. Just because we look okay on the outside doesn’t mean we are not emotionally vulnerable.

10. Cancer doesn’t just affect a person physically. It can make a person suffer mentally or financially.

11. Don’t try to force us to suppress our feelings by saying, “Everything is okay. You’ll be fine. You’ll get through this. You don’t have anything to worry about.” It’s essential to remain positive and optimistic, but it’s equally important to be realistic.

12. Telling stories of people who have died from cancer…that’s not helpful.

13. I am a person, not a diagnosis.

14. What may seem like a simple virus to you could be deadly to someone fighting cancer. Please don’t sneeze or cough on others, learn proper hygiene, and stay away if you're sick.

15. Forgetfulness doesn’t mean we are not paying attention. Cancer patients are on drugs that mess with short-term memory, also known as "chemo brain" or "brain fog."

16. We get incredibly fatigued through treatments and may need to sleep more or help with simple tasks.

17. Losing hair isn’t “fun,” but fighting for our life is worth so much more than our appearance. Cancer patients appreciate uplifting compliments and support.

18. We probably won’t reach out for help, so just do it.

19. Just because chemo is over doesn’t mean the battle is over.

20. You may disagree with our decisions but should respect them.

21. Let us cry. We already feel like a burden while fighting this disease, and sometimes we must cry to get through these horrific moments. It's okay to comfort us with a hug, back rub, or by handing us a tissue n these times.
22. Advice may not be needed; it can hurt more than help.

23. Most of us appreciate being held in your thoughts or prayers.

24. We don’t know why we got cancer, and hearing your theory may be insulting.

25. Don’t take it personally if we don’t return your call or want to see you.

26. Please think of our caregivers and loved ones who also need support and love through this journey.
27. You can help our family by bringing meals, coming to treatments, watching our pets or kids, taking on tasks like yard work or cleaning, providing gas or gift cards, and gifting hats or other items for treatments. Every little bit is valued and meaningful to us.

28. The reality of our diagnosis is that we don't know how much longer we may have on this earth. We know that you're scared just as much as we are, but this diagnosis also reminds us of the value of memories and relationships. Please try to spend time with us if possible. 

29. Take pictures. 

30. It only takes a moment to write, "I'm thinking of you." Those messages mean more than you realize. 

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