Five ways I’ll know it’s time for me to stop talking about cancer

  • 1. We’ll no longer refer to cancer in ways that infer it’s bigger or better than the people who have it, in any way, ever.
One day, there’ll be no more “cancer victims”. Instead, we’ll be in the habit of referring to cancer in ways which affirm the disease is always – always – punching way above it’s weight. It’s never the better one.


  • 2. We’ll no longer say a person “lost their battle with cancer” when they die.
One day, regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether we live with cancer or die because of it, we’ll always acknowledge cancer never, ever wins. The manner of our death never outshines our life. We are better, we are stronger, we are smarter. We. Always. Win.


  • 3. We’ll no longer treat positivity as a legitimate cancer treatment.

We’ll give people with cancer permission to complain and be whiny, to be depressed and unhappy, and even to be negative if they so wish, for as long as they need to, without pressure to be smiley and brave, or go back to normal within a “reasonable” amount of time, because sadness, anxiety and fear are normal emotional responses to crises. It’s not a failure, or giving in, to feel.

  • 4. We’ll no longer consider having cancer to be a kind of failure.
We’ll pray with people who have cancer, instead of just for them. We’ll accept the fact sometimes people get cancer despite having done all the right things, and even when they did the wrong things, we won’t blame them. People sometimes make mistakes, but cancer is always, always wrong.


  • 5. Curing cancer will be as easy as taking a pill.
Sometimes, the worst part of having cancer isn’t the cancer – it’s the treatment. I look forward to a day soon when a cancer diagnosis means a few days in bed and a course of chemotherapy in a tablet that doesn’t make your hair fall out, or your fingernails fall off, or give you a mouth full of ulcers, or make your teeth and bones like honeycomb, or make you vomit a week of breakfasts.


Now, I can’t do much about number five, but I know a lot of people are working really hard to make that particular change come about as soon as possible. In the meantime, I’d about making the other four happen. Will you join me?




My book, Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer, is available as both an e-book and in print form, by clicking the links to the right of this post.



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