Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What to Say (or Not to Say) #3


Next up in the series of What to Say (or Not to Say) to someone with FBC revolves around chemo.  I heard this line many times, “You only have — X #’s — of chemos left.” Now this was always well intended, as are the majority of the things that are said to cancer patients. I do know this, which is why I’m offering alternative things for people to say to/do for their friends and loved ones (Silver Lining).

So, here is a gentle suggestion of something to say that is incredibly supportive and doesn’t include “only” and “chemo” in the same sentence. For the record, “only” and “chemo” should never be in the same sentence. Just sayin’…


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  1. Melanie says

    Here's one I heard repeatedly before my last chemo. "You must be excited to have 1 chemo left." I always said no I was not excited but relieved to be almost done with this part of my journey. Who would ever be excited about having chemo?

  2. E.B. says

    I know people mean well, but they should think, put themselves in the patient's (and their family's) shoes and think it through before they say something. My Mom got this comment when she was diagnosed "At least you got it now that you are older and your daughter is an adult." While I understood what the person was trying to say, I still wanted to smack her and go WTF? My Mom, bless her, just smiled and said "Yes, and we still have many good years ahead!"

    • says

      Ohhhhhh, that's a doozie, E.B. Good gracious. Bless your mom indeed. I try so hard to give the benefit of the doubt, acknowledging how difficult it is and how uncomfortable people feel…and how I have a tendency to say ding-dong things when I am awkward. …perhaps that's the reason that I'm doing this series! Thank you so much for sharing, as always!

  3. says

    It is all a matter of semantics; the significance of the words and their meaning when you say something. You want to be considerate and express concern. It is not so much what you say, but how you say it that can make the difference between sounding negative instead of positive. Don't be a drag; but be encouraging, not discouraging, in your comments to the (perhaps sensitive) person suffering from FBC.