Don't Know What to Say to Someone With Cancer? Send a Text of Support

by GregP_WN

When you're diagnosed with cancer people are shocked, they don't know what to say, some people won't say anything, while others will say things that are rude or insensitive. Try not to take it personally, they are just trying to come up with something to say. We have found that a large number of our WhatNexters would appreciate loved ones checking in on them by text as good as a telephone call or even as much as stopping by.

Texts To Cancer Patients

A text is quick, and it eliminates that awkward moment when the person asks the patient "how are you doing" since apparently, that's the #1 thing that people think of to say or ask. A lot of people will be concerned, but still don't like to be face to face with a loved one or acquaintance and talk about their cancer and their condition. It's awkward for the patient as well as for the friend or loved one. 

So how about a text? Really? Is that personal enough? Most of the community at WhatNext agree that a thoughtful text in the morning from someone letting them know that they are thinking about them is comforting. An email can lift their spirits too and the love and support can be delivered in a little more detail. 

How many mornings have you woke up in a panic because today is the day you have to go have a scan or get test results, have surgery or one of the other 100's of things that can make your heart race and blood pressure rise? Have you ever felt comforted with a text, call or visit from someone? Here are some suggested texts that might comfort someone you know with cancer. 

1) "I don't know how you feel, but I will always be here for you if you need me."

We cancer patients always hear people say, "I know how you feel". Trust me, you don't. So drop a line to someone and let them know you are there, simple as that. Knowing that others are there for us if needed and are thinking about us is comforting. 

2) "How is your appetite? I'm going into town, what can I bring you to eat"?

Cancer patients will often either not have an appetite to eat or have side effects like nausea or a sore throat that make eating difficult. Also, our taste changes and sometimes what we used to love to eat doesn't taste right, so don't assume we will like it today. Drop them a line and ask what they feel like eating, instead of just saying "can I get you anything". Often times a cancer patient feels like they are being a pain by asking others to do things for us. If you word it in a way that makes it seem like it's no trouble, they may be more willing to accept your kind deed.

3) "Can I go with you to your (appointment/scan/surgery/treatment/etc) today"? 

Most cancer patients like to have someone with them at these important events, and most of the time we have someone. But lots of patients don't have anyone, or it may be a hardship for a family member to take off work repeatedly to accompany their patient to these events. Offering to be there would be a huge help for many cancer patients. Again, it's all in the way you ask it. If you ask "do you need someone to go with you tomorrow"? This will lead to them saying no, I don't need anyone, but most cancer patients would like someone to go with us. 

By letting them know that you will be there, in some cases regardless if they say they do want us or don't want us, will give them an easy way to say yes, I need you. 

4) "I mowed your lawn today, you relax this afternoon"

One great text to send is to not ask them a question but to simply tell them what you have done for them without them asking for it to be done. Like,  someone doing something for us that wasn't asked for is a warm and comforting feeling. 

Related Post 23 Nice Things You Can Do For Someone With Cancer

5) "I am praying that God will heal you soon, I love you so much!"

For the prayerful type, a simple message like this will be welcomed. It's simple, quick, powerful and requires no reply.

6) "Remember, you have survived 100% of the things life has thrown at you so far. You got this too"! 

You Have Survived 100%

When we get the diagnosis of cancer, many of us immediately start thinking about our demise. We start thinking about our life so far and what we are going to miss by not being here. Our mortality is a constant thought, often followed by anger and depression. We can certainly use a boost of positive vibes to get us out of the funk and back on the path of thinking positive. 

7) "You are one of the strongest people I know"

Every cancer patient will have points in their treatment when they don't know if they can take it any longer. Very few are lucky enough to breeze through the entire journey with no serious side effects that make them ask themselves if they can do it. A simple positive text may be just what we need at that point in our journey, on that particular day. 

8) "I ran across this cancer support website you might want to check out"

Don't be pushy, and don't offer crazy alternative treatments and so-called cures that you may run across on the internet. We need to focus on our plan of treatment and not get our hopes raised by snake oil type treatments that are untested, unproven and in lots of cases dangerous. We don't need someone to make us doubt that our treatment plan is questionable.

And of course, you can remind them that they can connect with others that are going through the same thing as they are at WhatNext. 

9) "I would love to drop by and see you tomorrow, what time can I stop by"?

It's all in how you phrase the question, asserting that you are stopping by tomorrow and the only question is when will let them have an easy way of accepting your visit. Remember it's not that we don't want to see our friends and relatives, it's just that sometimes we are feeling bad, might not like the way we look or don't want our cancer intruding on your lives. 

10) "What can I bring you" A perfect follow-up to number 9. 

Since you are coming anyway, they might not see it as an inconvenience to you to ask that you bring a gallon of milk and some bread. 

11) "I will do a load of laundry for you while I'm there"

One more follow-up to the follow-up would be to offer to do something for them while you're there. Again, don't ask, just do. If you ask if you can do the laundry will probably be met with NO. But they probably really wouldn't mind. When they are spending most of the day on the couch just trying to not get sick, things like laundry and vacuuming are not a high priority. 

12) "I am picking up the kids for you today"

This may be something that has to be worked out ahead of time with the school to allow a friend to pick up the kids if so you might take the initiative to call the school and ask them what needs to be done to make it possible for you. 

13) "How did it go today"?

Assuming that you weren't able or didn't go with them to their treatment or procedure, send a text asking how it went. Many times a cancer patient will not talk about the things we are going through for fear of feeling like we are always making the conversation about us. 

they don't want to be the one that brings it up all the time. But, if you ask, then it's easy to talk about it. There might be something that they would really like to get off their chest or ask someone else about it. 

14) "Look what (spot/fluffy/muffin-insert your pet's name here) did today"

Smiling Lamb

Cancer patients still like to see funny or silly things that might give them a laugh. They have cancer, they didn't get a "humorectomy". A good laugh may be just the medicine they need today. You might even send a link to a funny video. Believe it or not, patients don't want to think about cancer 24/7. 

Related post - 10 Things Cancer Patients Love to Hear

 15) "When you're done with all this, we are going here again"

This message with an attached photo of the two of you at a previous event or vacation or night out will lift their spirits and give them something to look forward to after the treatments are done. 

Cancer patients want your support, they love to hear from those they love so don't slip away into the darkness during this terrible time in their lives. Your helpful things will be much appreciated, even when they insist that they don't need them. (they do). Be there, but don't be overbearing, try to find a balance to fit with your loved ones current need for support, contact, and assistance. It's not an easy thing to determine but do your best to figure out what you can do for them that would be most needed and appreciated. 

Sometimes calling or texting their spouse, child or other friend or family member can be a great source of ideas for things to help them with. The bottom line on helping a cancer patient, be there, do what you can, and please don't disappear. 

If you're a cancer patient, what are some great texts or acts of kindness that you loved or were helpful? Please share in the comments below. 

Related Posts You May Also Like

Dear Family: Things you can do for me Without Asking

23 Nice Things You Can Do for Someone With Cancer

The Power of Giving - Gifts for Chemo Patients

How to Be a Good Friend to Someone With Cancer

Blog Home