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It can be difficult to know what to say to someone with cancer. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you can’t possibly understand how it feels.
Many people say inappropriate things, with warm hearts. We often do the best we can but our efforts still fall short. How do we find the right words to talk to someone with cancer?
Years ago, people spoke in whispers about cancer. Today, despite its prevalence, advances in treatment, and increasing survival rates, the disease still carries with it a stigma.
People with cancer continue to face negative attitudes and stereotypes. The truth is, at some point, someone you know will likely get cancer. When it happens, you should be prepared to communicate appropriately about the disease.
Many cancer survivors share similar stories of awkward encounters and upsetting comments made by well-meaning individuals. Their collective observations help us define "cancer etiquette," or rules of conduct for communicating with the cancer community.
Since each person experiences cancer differently, one approach does not necessarily work for everyone. This information serves as a starting point for talking to someone with cancer. There is no single right way. Just keep trying.
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGARDING YOUR CANCER CARE.
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