So how can you avoid the pitfalls of others before you?
Here’s what should you NEVER say to someone or their loved one diagnosed with cancer:
- For starters, hold yourself together and don’t cry; the bearer of this difficult news barely has the strength to tell you and they surely don’t have the emotional resources to comfort you.
- If you had to get cancer, this is a good one to get; no cancer is a good one to get. Surprisingly, even a clergy member said this.
- Can they treat it? Maybe they can and maybe they can’t, but this is a topic the patient or family member should bring up, not you.
- What’s the prognosis? Who really knows? As one friend shared, “It’s a bell curve and who knows where I’ll end up.”
- I know a lot of people who had that and they’re fine. This does not make anyone feel better and it takes the attention away from someone who needs comfort and support.
- Everyone’s got to die from something.
One of the best thing you can say to someone is, "I'm so sorry you have to go through this." And if you are willing, "I'd like to help. I'll keep checking back to see what I can do."
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, available in ebooks for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.
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