What not to say to someone with cancer

Bec Pene is a young wife and mum based in Sydney, Australia.  She is also a breast cancer survivor and advocate for helping others negotiate the realities of cancer.  She recently did a great post on her instagram page on what to say and what not to say to someone going through cancer.  She’s generously agreed to let us share it with you. Thank you Bec.  You can find more helpful information on Bec’s Instagram 


What not to say to someone with cancer:

I was talking to a dear old friend yesterday about the things people say to you when you go through cancer. Some are unintentional and others are just gobsmackingly rude! So I would like to share a list with you of things NOT to say and things TO say. Some, not all of these have been said to me.


What’s the prognosis?

Are you going to die?

I hope you don’t die!

Have you tried essential oils? How about these vitamin supplements? In fact any MLM schemes. No. Just stop.

Everything happens for a reason

Anyone could get hit by a bus any day, stop worrying.

Should you be eating that? You know sugar feeds cancer

Oh I know someone who died from that cancer

Lucky! That’s the good cancer!

We didn’t think you’d be up for it

Remember, there’s always someone worse off that you

Must have been good to have such a long break from work at least

*send friend request just to be nosy* I literally had about 20 Facebook requests when the news got out

At least you get a boob job!

Are you sure you want to do that treatment? You know it can cause cancer

Ghosting & no acknowledgement

I know how you feel (unless you have had cancer, no you do not know)



I don’t really know what to say

*drops off meals*

I’ll drive you to your next appointment

I know someone who had breast cancer, that was 10 years ago. They are okay! (Positive stories help!!)

Do you feel as well as you look? Thankyou @its_aboutus for this great suggestion!!

Talk about non-cancer things

Anytime you need to talk, I will listen

What day works for a visit?

Actions rather than “let me know if you need anything” because trust me.. they won’t ask

I love you