Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer

TNTS3DYou’ve just received the worst possible news – someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Before you have a chance to do anything, you’ll need to say something. The usual clichés spring to mind, but surely there’s something better to say than, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Just what do you say to someone who has cancer?


Author Jo Hilder draws on her experience as a cancer survivor, advocate and support group facilitator to introduce new ways to talk about cancer, and to the people we love who are diagnosed with it. With warmth and humor, Jo gently eases family, friends and supporters into those inevitable interactions faced after a cancer diagnosis, exploring the most common practical, social and emotional challenges. Identifying, addressing and dispelling the common cancer clichés, Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer introduces simple and comfortable methods for turning awkward interactions into open conversations about cancer. Sharing from her own journey as a cancer patient and wide experience delivering cancer support programs, Jo helps readers understand the reality of cancer and treatment, contrasting this with common stereotypes and cancer myths. Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer is a practical guide for the uninitiated, providing information and support for anyone who finds themselves bewildered and afraid in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

People say…

“This is a real life, practical, heartfelt and truthful guide for anyone affected by cancer. It makes you laugh, cry, reflect and wince when you read what you will probably relate to should you have been in this environment. This book has the potential to assist so many especially carers, families and friends who are always looking for ways to help a loved one or colleague deal with cancer, its treatment and beyond. There are plenty of resources for information, this deals with the “how the heck am I going to deal with this” on a day to day level. Brilliant stuff Jo Hilder.” Annie Miller, Coordinator, Living Well After Cancer Program, Cancer Council NSW.

“This book has helped me to see cancer from the eyes of those who have to deal with this disease, helping me realize my “normal” way of thinking just doesn’t cut it. Things Not To Say shows me if I truly want to support and love a friend or family member through this season of their life, I need to change. Jo’s book is uplifting and encouraging, and I’m so grateful she took the time to put these ideas on paper – thank you.” Sallie-Ann Macklin, author and photographer, ”Inspirational Women – Ordinary Women doing the Extra-ordinary”.

“If it were an ideology, it would be terrorism. Cancer catches us unawares, unprepared, without mercy or prejudice, forever altering the lives it touches. Jo Hilder has tackled a very difficult subject in Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer – the very essence of our first contact with cancer. In acknowledging those first emotions and reactions and naming our fears, she sensitively constructs a platform for what is inevitably a long arduous journey for all involved. Having been through that experience personally, I feel Things Not To Say To Someone With Cancer is a great place for anyone to start.” Brad Fitzpatrick, husband of Christine (passed away from cancer, 1997)

“In Things Not to Say to Someone Who Has Cancer, Jo Hilder provides a friendly, well-written guide for things to say instead of the usual clichés. Things Not To Say is a great book for cancer patients, cancer survivors, carers, friends, colleagues, neighbors and health professionals.” Carol Rhodes, cancer survivor and program facilitator, Living Well After Cancer.

 “This book is for anyone who has heard themselves say to a person with cancer ‘Let me know if there is anything I can do for you’ or ‘Just be strong’, and that’s probably all of us. Beyond the expected list of do’s and don’ts for supporting someone with cancer, Jo offers a way to open up conversations, leading us to a deeper and more authentic way of relating around a cancer diagnosis. Jo suggests there is a better way to face cancer with our loved ones.” Carolyn Grenville, cancer carer and advocate.

“Jo tackles a tough issue with compassion, humor and sensitivity, challenging existing approaches to talking about cancer by shining a light on a new way to communicate around a cancer diagnosis. Things Not To Say also acknowledges the good intentions underpinning those things we know we shouldn’t say to someone with cancer, but seem to stumble into anyway.  This warm and thoughtful book is much more than a guide of what not to do, and contains much food for thought on new ways to address the issue of cancer and its impact on the ones we love.” Kelly Williams.

 “Positive and wise, this book goes well beyond what’s promised. Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer doesn’t just tell us what not to say, but leads us along a path to a far more positive and comprehensive way of approaching loved ones with cancer. Far from just being a list, Things Not To Say encourages us to leap forward into a better way, and to trust ourselves to relax into a more natural way of being with someone who has cancer.” Carrie Green, cancer carer.

Practicalities first – presentation, size of pages and print, spacing between lines, layout of paragraphs and the ”smiley face ” that popped up here and there  made the book easy and enjoyable to read. Many home truths about our relationships with family and others for me as a  cancer journeyman and my wife as a cancer carer came to light. Your life experiences are clearly helpful to those of us who have only just started our cancer journey and hopefully a reliable guide for those cancer friends and carers who sometimes act with every good intention but at times  show lack of full thought as they desire to help. I enjoyed it all so much, so thank you for writing and preparing this guide for our onward travel through life after cancer.” Ron Woodlands, cancer journeyman.

Those who purchased this book also bought Soul Letters For The Cancer Sojourner.