• Is it just me or does this happen to everyone when talking to a friend about your cancer diagnosis?

    Asked by BobsProstate on Monday, January 27, 2020

    Is it just me or does this happen to everyone when talking to a friend about your cancer diagnosis?

    Everyone seems to insist on telling me about all of their relatives that have died from cancer. What kind of cancer it was, how long they fought it and all the grueling details about how it wasn't the cancer that killed them it was the chemo or radiation. Does everyone get this? I really don't understand how people think that is helpful.

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Yes, unfortunately most people don't know what to say so they say the first thing that comes to mind.

      And it's not just for people with cancer. I had lupus when I was in my 40's (it's been in remission for 20+ years). People would tell me about people they knew with lupus who were on dialysis or who became wheelchair-bound.

      Ignore them. Or say what I finally decided to say, "Well, they must not have had as good a doctor as I have." That shut them up pretty quick. I'm sorry that you're experiencing this.

      21 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Oh, yeah. I think just the word "cancer" scares the heck out of people and they don't know how to react so the just kinda go stupid and say inappropriate things. I have responded to this stuff by saying, "I really don't need to be hearing this right now. It is not helping". Or, "treatments are alot better these days than they used to be so I'm pretty confident". I think everybody knows someone who has died from cancer so that's right where their mind goes when they hear someone else has been diagnosed. I try not to let it get to me.

      21 days ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      Yes. The stories of their Aunt, cousin, nephew, etc. And how they really suffered until they died. Those stories we do not need or appreciate. I would rather hear of warriors who fight their battles and are still here. Yes, cancer is a killer, but with new medicine, and advanced in research, not everyone who gets cancer dies. It's one neck of a battle to live but it is so worth it. I'm a seven year survivor.

      21 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Yup, I got some of that, too, even from very kind people. I try to honestly tell newbies to cancer that there are millions of cancer survivors living good lives, maybe not as good (for some) as before cancer, but still good. We can counter that doom and gloom without being dishonest. Of course, some cancers or stages of cancers are much worse than others and shouldn’t be sugarcoated, but there’s hope for almost everyone.

      21 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      ditto, sometimes with pictures

      21 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Yep, it seems to be the typical response. I think people are trying to relate somehow by telling the stories.

      It is hard to know what to say to people because everyone reacts differently.

      21 days ago
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      Oh yes! It's still happening 15 years later! I remember the first thing I did at the time of my diagnosis was to read Lance Armstrong's book because I was desperate to read about survivors, not people I don't know, never met and most likely had a totally different treatment plan from me. Hang in there, it just comes with the territory.

      21 days ago
    • schweetieangel's Avatar
      schweetieangel

      Sadly yes happened just last night at dinner.

      21 days ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      Oh, yes. And it happens with other topics, too. For example, a couple of years ago I told someone that my husband and I were going to Kauai. She spent the next ten minutes telling me how her daughter had just returned from there and had the worst flight ever and it was really bumpy and she had to go to the bathroom so badly but the seatbelt light was on the whole time... For heaven's sake. I could hardly believe my ears. It was so thoughtless.

      21 days ago
    • Afterglow's Avatar
      Afterglow

      I must be one of the lucky few. I've not had much of that, though at the beginning there was some of the 'you don't look like you have cancer.' I wear an awareness ribbon most of the time (prostate cancer). When someone asks what its for, I may hear that their grandfather or father had, or has, it but have been spared the details. Since I keep a supply of the ribbons and wrist bands, I may offer them the ones I'm wearing and get occasional takers. Don't know if that helps minimize the details or not but always glad to spread the 'awareness.'

      20 days ago

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