What to Say to Someone with Cancer

Cancer has devastated the world for generations, and each year more people are affected. In just the United States alone, there are 439.2 cases per every 100,000 people diagnosed every single year. In 2018, this meant an estimated 1,735,000 people. Almost two million a year, and even more who are wondering what to say to someone with cancer.

Truth is, statistics don’t matter when it’s your family member; your loved one. It’s the new reality of life, and it can affect mental health greatly. The difficulty in this is, depression and anxiety are very easy to slip into, and this can prove detrimental to the ability to recover. 

Words of encouragement, positivity, and a good support group can help someone get through this struggle to join the over 15 million cancer survivors alive today. It can be hard to know what to say to someone who has cancer, and so we’ve compiled a healthful guide to help you find your words. 


supporting friends


Words of Encouragement for Cancer Patients

Building a positive attitude is about receiving support and words of encouragement. Having the right attitude can help you survive. In fact, many studies have been conducted to measure the power of words and encouragement, and have even been used to create a standard scale for those who practice psychology. 

These studies have proved that positive words can help a child succeed, help plants flourish, increase fundraising profits, and develop stronger sports teams. Now, scientists are running tests on the link between lack of support and readmission to the hospital as well as longer stays. 

With that in mind, if you’re struggling to find what to say to someone with cancer, we’d like to offer a few key pieces. 

There Is Always Hope

The number of cancer survivors is expected to rise to 20.3 million by the year 2026, and in fact, for cancers such as breast cancer, the rate of survival is 98.8% when caught in the early stages. Which is why “I’m praying for you” and “there is always hope” is not just a slogan on a christian tshirt, but a good way to start cultivating a positive attitude. 

I'm Here for You

Telling someone that they are not alone in this fight, and that you are there for them, is one of the best things you can do for their morale. Sometimes it is easier to fight battles when someone you love is by your side. But when you say this, you have to mean it. Schedule time for them, as often as you can. 

I’m Proud of You

It is difficult to be strong when you have cancer. You are drained in every way. You can’t do the things you usually do. You aren’t home for the ones you love. Suddenly, someone so strong in every other thing is left feeling vulnerable by their own body. It takes a different type of courage and strength to handle that. 

Letting them know that they are being strong helps to build that in their mind as a concrete fact, putting them in a better position to fight this. 

This Is Hard

When people are sick or hurt, they often want to feel validated in their pain. They want to know that they aren’t simply weak, and that others know how hard this is. Validate them by letting them know this is tough, that it sucks. 

If you can, have them speak to other survivors who really know what they’re going through and can pass along some encouragement and kind words. Not every patient will want this, but more than most people think. 

You’ve Got This. You Are Free

Remind them that they are strong, and that they can still live their lives. They do have some control over this. Everyone wants control over their lives, and no one wants to feel vulnerable to their own body. Helping them to see that they can still live their life will have immeasurable positive effect on their mentality, and on their health. 

Some may even take this as a chance to spend more time with family, go on regular walks, exercise if they can manage, eat healthier… It may be difficult to see at first, but cancer doesn’t have to be the end, and it doesn’t have to keep you down.

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Sometimes people don’t realize how hard they are on themselves until someone else points it out. Other times, people need to know what you see in them. Need to know that someone believes in them. 

When you tell them you see strength in them, you are thereby creating that strength, or at least helping to bring it forward. Make it even more obvious with a women’s You Are Stronger Than You Think muscle tank top.


You Can Talk To Me Anytime, I’m Listening

Sometimes, people just need to talk. They need to tell you what’s on their mind, what they’ve been thinking about for a while, what needs to be said between you. Often, they’re sitting in a hospital for a while and can have a lot of time to think. Be there to listen. But understand when they don’t want to either. 

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road…?

Distracting patients with jokes, games, random conversation… can be what they need. Their life is consumed with cancer and other people wanting to talk about it. It’s constantly in their face. Give them a chance to have other thoughts. It will feel good for everyone. 

Remind Them

Remind them of what makes them who they are. Remind them of what they mean to you. Remind them of what they are alive for, who they are alive for. They are a blessing in your life, and they should know this. Having something to fight for keeps many people going. 

Go Beyond Encouragement

We can offer as many words and prayers as anyone, but actually being there to support them, talk to them, distract them, and comfort them is everything. Back up your words and be there to build them up. It will do more for them than anything else. 

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