What every cancer patient wants you to know

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
  • Bookmark and Share

In February, Facing Cancer Together explored what every cancer patient wants you to know… The acts of kindness that brought comfort during treatment, the importance of humor, and communication tips for family and friends.  What advice can you share?  Please leave a comment!

lori_hope-profile20 Things people with cancer want you to know:

Emmy-Award winning journalist Lori Hope  discussed her book, Help Me Live -- 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know.  Lori Hope was diagnosed in 2002 with lung cancer.  She says it came as a complete shock, and although her family and friends stood by her, some didn’t know what to do.  Hope writes that most people with cancer want to feel heard, respected, understood and valued; to laugh; to be loved and above all to love!  She says the book can be that lifeline.

What NOT to say to cancer patients:

Lynn Eib works as a patient advocate in Hanover, PA offering emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their caregivers.  She knows a thing or two about what cancer patients are going through.  That’s because she is a cancer survivor herself.

Lynn faced a colon cancer diagnosis as a young mother of three and endured a tough treatment of chemotherapy.  But, now she’s sharing the wisdom she's learned from her own journey to help others and provide them with the emotional care they need.   

Lynn says that many times people want to offer patients support, but don’t know how.  She says, “I’ve toyed with writing, the idea of writing a book:  Really Stupid Things Not to Say to Cancer Patients and Their Family.  People say things like, ‘Oh, you look so good,’ and I know they mean well, but you know, you want to say, like, ‘Well, how did you want me to look?’ Or, ‘How did you think I was going to look?’”  Watch a video of Lynn sharing some advice here.


She adds that the worst thing someone can do is to start telling you a story about someone they know who had cancer that didn’t make it.  “Oh, my grandma, she had that kind of cancer, oh, she didn’t last six months.”  Lynn suggests, “When someone starts a story about a relative or a friend with cancer, like your kind, look them straight in the eye and say, ‘Does this story have a happy ending?’ And if they say, ‘No,’ say, ‘Thank you. I don’t want to hear it right now.  When I start to tell a story to someone, about someone I know with their kind of cancer, they know it’s a story with a happy ending. Either the person’s cured or the person’s in remission or the person’s doing better than anyone thought or whatever. I only tell those kinds of stories to people.  Because you need to hear a hopeful story, not a sad story.”

karolyn-kelly-o-keefeTen (Somewhat) Practical Suggestions for Surviving Cancer:

Karolyn Kelly-O’Keefe shares some tips for surviving cancer in this Personal Journal blog post:

"For some inexplicable reason, I seem destined to learn everything the hard way. Because I work as a writer, I feel compelled to pass along my experiences to others. So here are some things I learned since surviving -- nay, THRIVING, after cancer.

Lesson #1: Never attempt to hide a cancer diagnosis from your mother. If she is anything like mine, less than one hour after you receive the news it will register on your mom’s built-in child-homing device. She will then hunt you down, even if you try to hide at your boyfriend’s house, as I did."

send-flowers-to-friendActs of kindness bring hope to cancer patients:

A cancer diagnosis turns a person's world upside down.  But acts of kindness from family, friends, an even strangers can make a world of difference and offer hope during a dark time. This video highlights just two examples of extraordinary acts of kindness towards cancer patients.

Sandy Good was touched by the outpouring of love and support she received after receiving an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Each card meant so much to her, but the prayer blankets she received were particularly special to her. Church groups would make the blankets especially for her, and pray for her while they worked.  She says, "It means a lot when you have all those people praying and they show you those demonstarations of love.  It's very encouraging."  

And, Romeo LaMarco shares an inspirational act of kindness that his family received after his son Joel was diagnosed with testicular cancer. A friend organized a golf tournament at the spur of the moment  in Joel's honor.  Romeo was overwhelmed by the response and by how many people came out to help Joel.  The tournament helped to raise over $15,000 for Joel!

1 Comment