10 Things Not To Say to Women Who’ve Had Breast Cancer
October is here, and so is pink everything. I’m all about supporting the fight against breast cancer, but perhaps we all need to think before we speak to breast cancer survivors.
I lost a grandmother to breast cancer, and the reality that I could be diagnosed with the disease is terrifying to me, as it is for most women. It’s a sad fact that everyone these days knows or loves someone who has either fought the breast cancer battle, or lost it.
I came across an article on Quartz today that really made me think about how we speak to breast cancer fighters and survivors. We think we are being supportive and caring when we ask questions like these, but in reality they may be more hurtful than helpful.
According to one Quartz writer, here’s 10 things we should never say to a woman fighting breast cancer and things we should say instead:
- “Now you can get new boobs!” I’m pretty sure any breast cancer fighter would rather have their small, big or saggy cancer-free ones instead of fake ones.
- “At least you won’t have to worry about a bad hair day” Wearing a wig still sucks.
- “What did you eat when you were younger?” Seriously. Probably all the same things you ate too.
- “Oh my God, you are so young.” Yep, and it sucks. Cancer knows no age.
- “You’re so strong.” Maybe, but only because they have to be and would rather not be.
- “This is so scary.” Duh! Try being in their shoes.
- “What’s your prognosis?” Sounds so grim, like you really want to say “how long have you got left?”
- “My so-and-so died from cancer last year.” No one needs a reminder that death is a possibility.
- “When are you done?” Who knows. The fight is ongoing.
- “Are you in remission?” Breast cancer knows no remission.
- I love you.
- I’m here for you.
- Let me know if you need to talk.
- Can I come to the doctor with you?
- I’m thinking about you.
- How are you feeling?
- We’ll get through this.
- Let’s go dance, raise money and have a great time at the Pink Party to support Pink Heals of Winnebago County and breast cancer awareness on October 14, 2016 at the District in downtown Rockford.