When People Say the Wrong Thing About Cancer

Posted By
2/14/2018 8:34am
Replies: 1


Comment: ”Your cancer was caught early, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
When Dianna Smoljan, 50, was diagnosed with an early melanoma three years ago, she thought, Wow, I’ve gotten really lucky twice. More than two decades earlier, the public relations consultant from Mokena, IL, had been diagnosed with cervical carcinoma in situ, a Stage 0 cancer that was removed in her gynecologist’s office.

Left untreated, melanoma becomes life threatening. In fact, Dianna’s dermatologist told her that her husband had saved her life by spotting the irregularity on her back early. “When all is quiet and you allow yourself to think, the what ifs overtake you,” she says. “Yet you feel bad for wanting someone to understand, because you know it could have been worse. Most people said things like, Oh, you had a mole removed. People tend to dismiss early-stage cancers as, It’s early. It’s out. You’ll be fine.”

Comeback:  ”I was lucky to find it early, but I still need to sort through my feelings.”
“Support is a double-edged sword,” says Dr. Greenstein. “When you have cancer, people will say the wrong things now and then. It’s part of our culture to minimize the bad stuff in life.”

She suggests sending an email to loved ones explaining how you feel and how you would like to be treated. Consider saying, It’s not important what you say. It’s what you say next. “It’s the discussion that makes a difference in how you’re going to feel afterward,” she says.

Nicely written piece.  Many folks on here know my story and my rantings.,,but if you newbies are interested, here is a link to my thoughts on how to be a good cancer friend, written after being told one too many times that I needed to eat more vegetables, be thankful my treatment was in Florida, and that I should pray:


Additional writings/musings on living with cancer as well as data about the effects of and on our dear caregivers are in the scroll as well.  We cancer peeps wouldn't get much of anywhere without you!

Love to all.  C