• What are some of the ridiculous assumptions people have made about you and cancer?

    Asked by abrub on Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    What are some of the ridiculous assumptions people have made about you and cancer?

    I had people tell me that because I didn't lose my hair with chemo, it obviously wasn't effective and/or that obviously it wasn't difficult to tolerate. Most people don't lose their hair on the chemo I had - Folfox. And my side effects were extreme - I would have gladly exchanged them for permanent hair loss rather than some of the stuff I went through.

    23 Answers from the Community

    23 answers
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar
      Ydnar2xer

      I learned from my sister that my mom has told her friends that I am "hanging by a thread." Jeeze, thanks Mom. I beat breast cancer 9 years ago and intend to beat it AGAIN, FYI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Bellamore's Avatar
      Bellamore

      People, I think, assume that I feel as good as I look. I have my hair, I have flushed rosey cheeks and I still work.

      almost 4 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      That I did something to cause the cancer... One person actually asked me - right to me face - what did I do to cause the cancer? Then, she said... you know, like with lung cancer?

      I was ... speechless .... and then I said no one deserves cancer... no one... and then I just walked away. As if we all caused our own cancers... as if anyone knows why a person gets any particular cancer... including lung cancer (that one has a pretty big stigma)... Grrrrr....

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      That it is very easy for me to catch a cold or any other illness. I have been off chemo now for about 3 months. I appriciate that they don't cough on me when thier sick but to avoid being in the same room is taking it too far. Heck I get colds from my wife and I refuse to stay out of the same room as her.

      almost 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      People (especially my mother-in-law!!) assumed that I wouldn't be able to maintain a normal lifestyle....like I'd be constantly sick throughout my entire treatments and I wouldn't be able to work, shop, go out with my friends, etc. My mother-in-law kept commenting that she couldn't believe that I was still driving. Hmmm...was I supposed to just lay in bed for 6 months?

      I know that before I had chemo, I didn't understand that there are many different treatments and each has its own challenges and side effects, and each person reacts differently to treatments. Like the others have said, people say things out of pure ignorance and not knowing exactly what to say. I'm not sure anyone says these things to be hurtful...they just don't know what to say in a situation where they are uncomfortable and simply uninformed.

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      because you "look good", you must feel good.....you must be able to do whatever you did before cancer!!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar
      fastdog

      Every dumb thing people have said to me, I've said in the past to others, wanting to cheer them up, so it's like payback. Like, "You look really great, have all your hair, rosey cheeks, aren't skin and bones, so I'm sure you will be fine." I lost weight with the two surgeries, but didn't lose any hair from the chemo, so if they hadn't seen me with my head in the bucket, I didn't look like I was going through any misery. And everybody says they never ever heard of such a thing as appendix cancer (ok, neither had I) and why can't you just have your appendix out and get rid of it.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Lindy's Avatar
      Lindy

      1. A positive attitude equals a cure. 2. Telling me they will help equals helping. 3. Get right with God equals a cure. 4. I'm not dead yet thus cured.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Zippy's Avatar
      Zippy

      That stress causes cancer. My brother said to me, "Well, you've always had stressful jobs...." Sorry, bro, doesn't work that way.

      I think a lot of the stupid things people say are just their own way of trying to distance themselves from whatever you "did" that caused you to get the disease. Eat non-organic strawberries? Microwave your leftovers in plastic? Live in the city (where there's air pollution)? Live in the suburbs (where there's lots of chemical fertilizers on lawns)? It's just too terrifying to think you could be living an otherwise blameless life and still have cancer land on you.

      All of us are living proof that it happens every day.

      almost 4 years ago
    • myb's Avatar
      myb

      You didn't lose your hair? Like everyone who has cancer must lose their hair.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      Great question. Great answers. I have nothing to add, except to say I agree that people 1) generally mean well, 2) are terrified of being in your situation, and/or 3) are truly ignorant about what you are going through. Having said this, I still get very upset by what people say and sometimes find myself uselessly ruminating for days about a hurtful comment. I wish I could develop a thicker skin.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nobrand's Avatar
      nobrand

      Once I heard was that I might "die soon." I have had people doing this for a while.. I know I look bad and stuff, but jeez-- snapping awkward pictures and saying odd gestures of kindness makes me weirded out. I, myself, plan on staying around for a while. I know it could go either way, but I prefer to look on the bright side.

      almost 4 years ago
    • KimmieJo's Avatar
      KimmieJo

      When people learn that I have Ovarian Cancer they immediately make a horrible face - like "Oh, that's a bad one to have!" Isn't any cancer bad to have? They act like I will be gone in a matter of months. I was diagnosed three years ago and went into remission for two years before my recurrance this year and I plan on being around for quite sometime!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar
      GypsyJule

      I walk by my receptionist daily and she frowns and says "How aaaaaaaaaaare you today?" with these sad eyes. When I answer positively, she makes a comment to indicate that she just knows I must feel awful. Anything negative elongates the puppy dog face. (I wish it would stick that way!)

      The other thing I hate, which isn't an assumption, but just plain irritates me ... when someone I barely know decides to tell me about someone they knew that died of cancer. Seriously? I understand when someone wants to share a story, but when you're in the middle of the battle, it's hard enough to stay positive on your own, sometimes.

      almost 4 years ago
    • maralyn's Avatar
      maralyn

      Excellant question and comments, "thanks everyone" for giving me a chance to say "yep, i hear you",,, people don't "get it" until they have been there,,, i too, probably did/said dumb things to others too,,, but when my sister died of cancer, i don't bring up my experience with her because then they ask "how is she doing???" i surely wouldn't want to go there with them,,, i guess we are all just "human" beings trying to get through life, one day at a time!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar
      Tracy

      When I first had cancer in the mid 1970's people treated my as if it was contagious. NO you cannot catch cancer by touching me and I did not get it by doing something wrong.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Daytonagal's Avatar
      Daytonagal

      Because my sisters cancer metasized, the doctors must be lieing to me about mine being gone.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Genjen's Avatar
      Genjen

      Just the other day a friend said, " I look at you and I see a healthy person and it makes it hard to remember that your really sick?" I have lost several so called close friends because I would have to cancel plans if I wake up with fevers. Several times I would go out with friends and several hours later I could be in the ER being admitted for an infection and be really sick, it hits me that fast, I can't make plans, can't work anymore, I would gladly change places with any one of my family or friends life so I could experience a normal day! But this is what my life is and I had to learn to listen to my body and not listen to them telling me not to let my illness run my life, if I didn't I would not be here today!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      My mother started calling relatives to tell them how sick I was, how she was going to need to take care of everything for me and started making plans to renovate our house to accommodate my debilitating health problems----this after the initial diagnosis and before any health problems appeared. They still haven't appeared. That was the moment I decided not to tell anyone about my cancer until I have too, including making sure my medical files are marked confidential (small town where people talk and the local nurses are the source of a lot of information).

      I'm not going to be someone's victim. I made the 'rent promise (actually had to blackmail her) not to tell anyone else and to shut down anyone she had contacted.

      And for the person with the sad-eyed receptionist, I'd get a different receptionist. This is difficult enough with out being piled on by others.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar
      Lirasgirl33

      Many people thought that going through cancer treatment would make me feel "better". I cleared that up for them. I had to explain to them that it actually made us sick and feel worse. But that hopefully treatment works in killing cancer cells. People also thought that by me losing my hair, eyebrows, etc...that it meant the cancer was taking over my body, and they felt sorry for me. People have also assumed that once a cancer patient has gone through treatment, they can resume everything like normal, as if nothing ever happened. LOL A lot of uninformed people out there.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Maggie2010's Avatar
      Maggie2010

      Everything Lindy said. And handing me every "cure" article (aka paid advertisement) that they've seen in every magazine. There must be at least 100 cancer "cures" out there. Also that religion = cure.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Maggie2010's Avatar
      Maggie2010

      The asparagus cure. The vitamin C cure. The coral (from the ocean) cure. The plankton (from the ocean) cure. The maple syrup and sugar cure.... Sending me any and every "cure" they see, read, or hear about. Or that eating healthy = cure. Religion = cure. The idea that chemo is not the way to go - that only alternative treatments can "cure" you - because it's all a "pharmacy money making scam".

      almost 4 years ago
    • Maggie2010's Avatar
      Maggie2010

      My Mom actually said, "Don't talk about your cancer with other people. You don't want to upset them or ruin their day."

      almost 4 years ago

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