$hit You Shouldn’t Say To Cancer Patients Or Survivors: Part 1

(Filched from my personal FaceBook Page. It’s not plagiarism if it’s mine)

Some thoughts on people who think my cancer wasn’t “that bad,” was “baby cancer,” and wasn’t such a “big deal.”

Yes, people have said that to me.

People have also asked me why I think I got cancer. I could go into a lengthy discussion of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology, random mutations and failed/imperfect DNA repair, etc., or I can just get pissed off because I KNOW they’re asking if I got breast cancer because I’m fat and every now and then I like a nice juicy steak or cheeseburger. From now on, I think I’m going to just use this as a reply:

Photo credit somewhere on FaceBook – TinEye results were vague and I have NO idea who came up with the text. But it’s pretty fucking awesome! If it’s yours, tell me so I can give you credit.

I had breast cancer. I didn’t have to have chemo. I’m lucky and benefited from decades of biomedical research that made OncoType DX testing possible (I WILL get around to blogging about this test eventually, I swear), and I happened to have a low score.

I still had cancer. I’ve had three surgeries (and I’m not done), radiation, and I’ve got a ten year sentence with estrogen blockers and medically induced menopause. I’m still lucky. I know and understand that. Very well.

Photo credit Snarky Cancer – Seriously, check out their site and their merch. I’m going to order about 5 totally snarkalicious T-shirts!

I still had cancer. When someone in or out of the survivor club (it’s always worse when it’s another survivor) tells me I had “baby cancer” or “good cancer,” I get a special kind of homicidal that will probably get me locked up someday when I finally lose my 💩.

Never, ever, EVVVVVVVVVER say that to someone who has had cancer. It’s not a contest. It’s a suck fest and no one, not even fellow survivors, should not presume to understand the level of suffering endured by cancer patients and survivors.

Don’t be a dick.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

7 thoughts on “$hit You Shouldn’t Say To Cancer Patients Or Survivors: Part 1

  1. I’m kinda in the same boat
    No radiation or chemo.
    I feel like I’ve had the fast food version rather than the full 7 course degustation. And that some people would think oh well that doesn’t really count. Or is that just me. I feel lucky. I suppose if I really dig deep I’d say. F@ck that I got the mammogram and I acted. And just maybe the fact I eat well and exercised so much that was it. Yep I dodged a bigger bullet yay me. My oncologist says I had a cancer diagnosis. That’s big, don’t discount what you’ve been through. So I say that to you, don’t discount what you’ve been through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, hormone blockers for the next 5-10, and I know I’m lucky to be cancer-free now, but nothing will ever take away that diagnosis phone call. I love the people who say it’s because I use deodorant, or don’t eat well, or whatever other bullshit they say to feel like they are distancing themselves from getting it. My favorite one was the person who said it was because I didn’t have children (particularly since now I can’t have them). That one I called out with a “fucking REALLY? You should shut your mouth right now and seriously consider what you just said out loud.” Sigh.


    • Oh, the deodorant thing is woo woo bullshit nonsense that never fails to make me rage. You can eat well, exercise, and do everything you’re supposed to do and still get fucking cancer. And I’d like to hit the asshole who told you it was because you didn’t have children and punch them in the baby maker. Stand strong, survivor sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WTF! I’m a nurse and have several people close to me who were diagnosed with cancer. Not all of them survived. I thought I’d heard the worst possible things to say to someone battling cancer, but I was wrong. And there seems to be a theme to breast cancer f*cked-up-comments: belittling, blaming, and patronizing. Not separately, but as an inseparable trifecta of BS, that they would never think of saying to someone with testicular cancer. So when I overhear one of these asinine remarks, I’m going to repeat it back to the cretin who vocalized it, and substitute balls for boobs. I might get into some sh*t with supervisors, but hey, I’m going to say something they’ll take issue with, so it might as well be something I can stand by with a clear conscience. love the website. thanks , -nurse david, RN


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