How to talk to someone with cancer –

Timed for the holidays, another in a series of articles on how to talk to people living with cancer. Similar messages to other pieces (my own Supporting someone with cancer and Deborah Orr’s excellent 10 things not to say to someone when they’re ill). The list:

  1. This is a bad time to be emotionally needy.
  2. It’s a very bad time to disappear.
  3. Someone else’s dramatic life event is not your opportunity for closure.
  4. Remember it’s a fine line between curiosity and finger-pointing.
  5. Similarly, don’t tell them how to fix this.
  6. Don’t be hasty with the best-case scenarios.
  7. On the other hand, don’t be a downer.
  8. Your Aunt Betty’s cancer is not all cancer.
  9. Be useful.
  10. And this is the most crucial – be guided by the person’s cues.

My only addition is a bit of forgiveness on both sides, as it is easy to make missteps. If so, just say sorry and move on.

How to talk to someone with cancer –


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