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Cancer Etiquette

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

Cancer Sucks

Cancer invaded my life many years ago. I'm not a personal victim of cancer, but I feel I've been victimized by witnessing the agony my loved ones have endured.

I personally witnessed events and statements in their lives while they were fighting the beast.

I feel compelled to share some of the common sense knowledge I've learned over the years.

Possibly by me sharing this story another cancer survivor or fighter won't have to hear or deal with uncomfortable moments or questions.

There are many people who never had to deal with cancer, to them it's just something that happens to others which is understandable.

Those people might not know what to say or do when they hear someone is struggling to save their life.

I hope this helps you learn what to say or what not to say when your encountered with an awkward situation.

This is my opinion and the responses I've heard from victims during my journey.


Think Before You Speak

Don't ever, ever tell someone "You have the good cancer!" There is no such thing as a good cancer, cancer is cancer and all cancers are deadly but treatable if caught early. Early detection is of vital, importance but sometimes there are no symptoms. Either way there are No Good Cancers!

Don't be afraid to ask a cancer victim or their family member how they are feeling. How their treatments are going. Some people think they shouldn't approach the subject because they don't know if it's the right time, there is no such thing as the right time - just ask - if they don't want to discuss it they will tell you that. On the other hand, they might need to vent so ask only if you truly care and want to hear their response no matter how lengthy it might be.

Don't assume cancer is contagious and by discussing it you might catch it. That's impossible but that question has been asked, oddly enough.

Don't say "You don't look like you have cancer"! How is someone with cancer supposed to look? The monster is internally gnawing away at their organs, their hearts are heavy with sadness, that's not always possible to see. Not all cancer patients are bed-ridden waiting to die. Medical technology has come a long way in treating cancer and victims can now live a lot longer and have more productive lives.

Don't say "I'll pray for you" unless you truly intend to pray for them. Granted there are some people who keep a list of ones to pray for but I believe that most people say that because they feel it's customary. If you intend to actually pray for that person than say it, if not something such as "I'll be thinking of you", "You'll be in my thoughts" or "break a leg" will suffice.

Don't offer to chauffeur a patient to an appointment or hold someones hand during a procedure unless you intend to. Many people out of the goodness of the hearts offer assistance and don't come through when needed so please don't offer and get their hopes up unless you are able to be there.

Do call them. A phone call to say hello and share some memories or to simply talk about the weather are appreciated. Conversations don't have to revolve around cancer. Trust me, patients want to forget they have the beast sometimes and escape into your world if even for a little while.

Don't ignore them and assume by doing so there isn't an issue. Cancer isn't that easy to get rid of. Your loved one is ill and now is the time they need interaction from you. Your support is an important part of healthy healing. Without support a cancer victim might not have a purpose to fight as hard as they should.

Do suggest to stop by for a visit, bring along a delicious cake and savor the moment . Your heart will be enlightened by your meaningful visit. Your loved one will cherish the time you spent together. Even if no words are spoken your presence alone could make their day.

Do offer to cook a meal, mow the lawn, babysit the children etc, these deeds might seem small to you but will be huge in the mind of your loved one.

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Don't preach to them - if they drink, smoke, eat a pizza...don't tell them it's unhealthy, don't you think they already know that. It's their bodies to do with what they please. We all make choices in life, show them the respect by allowing them to make theirs.

Don't suggest alternative forms of treatment, healthier lifestyles, vitamins or supplements, trust me they have been there and heard it and possibly tried it. That's what their physician and Google is intended for.

Do remember silence is deadly and so is cancer. One we have control over and one we don't. Be the best you can be and show your support without being overly sympathetic which can actually make your loved one feel worse.

Don't forget humor is the best medicine. Laugh with them until you both can't laugh anymore and then laugh even more.

Do remember that once a patient is diagnosed their world and their loved ones world has changed. Within those few minutes during the dreaded news, they view life in a different perspective. What was significant yesterday, might not be as significant today. They are now on a mission for a cure. To beat the beast. You will pick up on their clues. They are garnishing all the strength they have for their upcoming fight. Your support and understanding is crucial at this point.

Don't ask "Are you cancer free now"? Ugh! There is no such thing as cancer free! We were all born with cancer cells in our bodies. These cells are inactive until they become active. So you get cancer when there are more factors that promote cancer growth than factors that inhibit cancer growth. It’s that simple.

Never, ever, ever use the word Prostrate for Prostate!


Be Considerate

I'm not judging anyone. I understand how it might be uncomfortable and you might be at a loss for words. But words aren't always needed. Actions are just as comforting. A gesture doesn't have to be grand, a simple gesture means the most.

I'm an advocate for victims of cancer and their loved ones. We all handle difficult situations in different ways. This is my way. My terminology might offend someone and for that I apologize but my personal journey has brought me to this point.

In 2002 I lost my mother to a six year battle with Colon Cancer. I fought alongside my husband during his seven year battle with Prostate Cancer until he passed on July 6, 2015. The emotional roller coaster takes it's toll at times. My heart goes out to all cancer fighters and their families.

Wishing all victims, victors and caregivers well.

To Cancer Victors

Do be your own advocate for your health. Doctors are human and they make mistakes. No one knows your body like you.

Without thoroughly explaining all of your symptoms no matter how trivial you think they might be your physician won't be able to effectively diagnose you.

Keep in mind you made the choice to "hire" your physician for his abilities.

So, unless you feel comfortable with his performance, you are free to speak your mind until you receive the answers that you are comfortable with.

Wishing you the best of health on your journey.

American Cancer Society 100th Birthday


© 2011 Linda Bilyeu


somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on July 23, 2015:

Never one to shy away from voicing my unique perspective, I was told that sharing with my family my view that my Father, as he was in life was blazing a trail (always breaking fresh snow on our X-cross country ski trips) and still being a leader by going first to the next dimension, so that he would be there for us when it was our turn.

My stoic resolve and lack of outward emotions helped other family members deal with their overwhelming grief. My Father taught me to be strong on the outside so that others could rally around the calm feelings in a stormy sea of moving emotions and gain strength from it, it seemed to work and I was told it helped.

Often a different perspective can put a difficult situation into a new light and reveal any love that might get buried by sorrow.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 23, 2015:

Hi Sherry, Thank you. Just be yourself is the best advice I could give. Some words are better than none. :)

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 22, 2015:

Sunshine625 - I'm sorry to hear that you have so recently lost your husband to cancer. Thanks for reaching out to us during this tough time.

It is so hard for people to know what to say, a lot of them just distance themselves from the situation. Thanks for giving us a few clues.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 22, 2015:

Thank you so much, Gail. Your support is appreciated. I keep your sympathy card on my desk, the words are a gift when I need them the most. XO

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on July 19, 2015:

Dear Linda,

Thanks for sharing these practical lessons that you learned from personal experience in caring for your mom and Dave.

Too often, friends and loved ones stay away because they don't know what to say or how to act, or because they feel they can't "deal with" watching someone they love go through the painful and debilitating treatments and also the pain from the cancer itself.

The more they know about what to say, and how to act, the more likely they'll overcome their own insecurities and fears and be able to support the patient.

You are a wonderful advocate for cancer patients and I'm glad to see you included a link to your book, "Letter to Cancer: Lessons Learned". I gave it a 5 star review and recommend it to anyone who has cancer or is taking care of a cancer patient.

Sending Blessings and Love,


Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 14, 2015:

There are so few people who have not been touched by this horrible disease! You are a very courageous lady, and I'm sure your Hubby is grateful for your love and care. It can't be easy for either of you.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 14, 2015:

Came back to read again, it is so important not to hurt those who are already hurting so badly.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 14, 2015:

It seems like every year, I encounter a friend or acquaintance who's battling cancer. A friend of ours is going through chemo this week.

And our animal family members are not immune either! I've had 4 dogs (their breed is prone to it) who have had some form of cancer and it never ends well, of course. Be kind and caring with friends and family who are dealing with pet cancers, too.

Thanks for sharing these awesome tips! Voted up and sharing!

lovedoctor926 on January 13, 2015:

Useful information. Good tips and advice. Thank you. I am sending positive thoughts your way.

Jennifer Arnett from California on January 13, 2015:

You have some really great ideas on how people can encourage and relate to someone going through battling that nasty disease. I think a lot of people don't know how to relate and how to help without hurting. If you haven't been through it, you just don't understand. Thank you for helping the rest of us understand.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on January 13, 2015:

My heart aches for you Audrey. You are quite an amazing survivor while living with the loss of your son. There is no greater pain. My husband continues to battle the beast and I continue to learn more etiquette along the way.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 13, 2015:

I'm back for another visit dear Linda. You already know about my experience with this terrible disease, the loss of Todd, and the impact on our family. My grandchildren are still paying the price for losing their father.

This is the best article on Cancer Etiquette! It's all true! I'll continue to share this hub everywhere I can.



Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 20, 2013:

Amen Flourish. Amen. I've witnessed cancer patients who were alone and had no support team, it made my heart ache for them. I always reach out when I sense loneliness in another patient, or person in general. I appreciate your comment.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 20, 2013:

Thank you for sharing your journey and pet peeves Carola. Wishing you good health.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 20, 2013:

I'm sorry for your loss Deborah. Cancer sucks.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 20, 2013:

Good advice, especially on the doctor portion -- and not just for those with cancer. You are a customer and must expect excellent customer service from your medical team. If you are not in a position -- physically or emotionally -- to be your own health advocate, make absolute sure that you have family members/friends who can stand in your place and be a strong patient advocate in partnering with the medical team. Your health, your life, your peace of mind may depend on this vital partnership. It's no time to settle for answers you don't understand. I advocate respect towards medical staff, of course, but also know that during any health crisis it's no time to put courtesy before the need for reliable professional judgment. A great medical team is so important.

Carola Finch from Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2013:

Thanks for this hub. I am recovering from breast cancer. My two pet peeves are people being surprised that I don't look like I am on death's door and negative commenting on my eating habits, which I feel are nobody's business. I am glad to hear from people that so-and-so recovered by drinking veggie juice, but that doesn't mean it will work for me. Yech! chemo was less nauseating.

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on July 14, 2013:

Hi Linda.. Cancer is so awful. I lost my best friend a couple of months ago.. it was terrible ... I lost her to cancer. so many friends and family are dieing or have died. from cancer.. It is a terrible .. God b;es you for writing this .. it needs to e said


Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 03, 2013:

Hi Vicki, Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Hi Audrey, Unfortunately I wasn't there for you with your loss, but I'm here now! :)

Hi Carola, Thanks for the tip! Wishing you continued good health.

Carola Finch from Ontario, Canada on July 02, 2013:

I am sorry you had to go through this. I am a breast cancer survivor myself, and you make some good points. However, on the technical side, I suggest that you take a second look at the flow of the article at the end. First you informing readers who meed to be educated about how to treat people with cancer, and then you switch after "Cancer Etiquette conclusion" (which is not a conclusion, to be really nitpicky) to talking to cancer patients themselves. I suggest you either cut out the last bit or rewrite it so that there is a clear transition to a totally different type of reader (cancer patients). You could also do it as a sidebar with "For Cancer Patients" or something like that - sorry I am not more creative this early in the morning. I feel it is best (and many editors insist on this) to target one type of reader such people who need information about cancer patients so there is no jolting change in perspective or confusion. Hope that is helpful. Otherwise, good job.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 02, 2013:

I sure could have used your insightful information when my son was diagnosed with testicular cancer. How I needed someone like you (better yet, you personally,) when cancer claimed his life.

Your compassion for others spills through the words you select. Dear Sunshine, may you be surrounded with blessings galore.

Love you,


Vickiw on June 20, 2013:

Sunshine 625, good advice in this Hub, and I see it was written long before I came on the scene! A lot of this advice could be applied to people who have suffered a bereavement too. Glad you wrote this - I'm sure it has been of help to many people.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 30, 2013:

Hi earner, Yes it's a sad time for everyone. Doctors want to continue to give hope. They want to win the battle too. Well, most doctors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Dedicated Content Curator from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

A great hub. It's a tricky time with everybody skirting round the subject and going through many emotions. Often the cancer sufferer is in denial themselves, making it impossible for family and friends to have the essential conversations that are needed.

One of the tricky things is not knowing how long you've got - even 24 hours from death Doctors are often not saying "when" or "how long" .... and, often, the patient believes they'll get through this, that they aren't really dying ....

A sad time for everybody.

Voted up.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 14, 2013:

Vellur ~ Michelle ~ Denise ... Thank you for your continued support:)

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on March 02, 2013:

Absolutely beautiful hub, Linda. I'm so glad you wrote this very important article about cancer etiquette. God bless.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on December 16, 2012:

Coming in again to say that I agree with everything about Cancer ettiquette here. I am sharing this hub.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 16, 2012:

A very important hub, full of good will and kindness. We must never hurt a person who is already been hurting so much from cancer. Voted up and shared across. Great hub.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 21, 2012:

Heluvsu2, Follow your hearts and go with what feels right. It's perfectly fine to simply say no. If your friend is a true friend they should understand. If no additional costs have incurred yet, I would hold off on the fundraiser. That's my opinion. You might not need the funds and that could cause issues. A friend offered to begin a fundraiser for my husband and I, we are doing OK right now so I have the fundraiser on hold. I hope I helped and didn't confuse.

heluvsu2 on October 21, 2012:

Thank you all for these truths. I need input on a couple of things: What is the proper way for my spouse to participate in fund-raisers held by other organizations? Our kids sports teams want to fundraise on our behalf, and one of our friends made ribbons and pins to sell at these events. They want my spouse to be one of the people who sells these items. My spouse wants to watch the sporting event as a family. Is this inappropriate or being unappreciative. The other question is about the timing and need basis of having a fundraiser. Is is proper to begin fundraising when there are no additional costs being incurred as of yet.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 11, 2012:

Hi Peggy and Rebecca, Thank you both for sharing your thoughts.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 09, 2012:

A good article, and good for breast cancer awareness month. Thanks for sharing, I vote very helpful on this one!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2012:

We have lost several dear friends to cancer and other dear friends have had to...and are still battling it. Thus we have have been impacted by this monster many times. Very sorry to hear that you lost your mother to colon cancer. Hopefully your husband will fare better...especially with you at his side. Your words should help many people as they wonder what to do or say with regard to the people in their lives who will be affected by this disease process. Up and useful votes + definitely sharing!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 01, 2012:

Hi 34th! I heard about that site, but I've never visited. Thanks for sharing! I hope your son is doing well, as well as could be expected.

34th Bomb Group from Western New York State on October 01, 2012:

I'm going to check out a web site called "stupid cancer," or something similar. My son received a gift of a t-shirt from it. I think. Better for the little ones although I firmly agree: CANCER SUCKS!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 01, 2012:

India ~ Daisy ~ Stephanie ... Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. Yes, cancer does suck. During this month of October for breast cancer awareness we will continue to remind it even more.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on September 28, 2012:

Linda, this is so amazing and beautiful! Voted up across the board. Unfortunately, I have 3 close friends that are watching their spouses suffer with cancer, and I have at times struggled with what to say and do. Just letting them know that I am thinking about them, and spending time with them when they are up to it seems to do the trick. One friend didn't like me bringing flowers when I stopped by to visit. Such a difficult thing to witness.

Big kudos - shared! Best, Steph

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 28, 2012:


I came back to thank you again for publishing this article. Thanks, too, for all the anti-cancer advocacy work you do.

India Arnold from Northern, California on September 28, 2012:

I agree,...cancer sucks! I really appreciate your ribbon color chart, it is good to know what people are saying to us when they wear each color of ribbon. This is quite a tribute to many suffering hearts. I applaud you Linda.


Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 12, 2012:

Hi Rema, Thank you for stopping by for a lesson that I hope you will never need to know :)

Hi Nell, I appreciate your comment and support. Wishing your son's friend good luck!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 12, 2012:

Thanks Docmo. Your compliment and comment is appreciated. I truly hope more people do read this and they benefit from cancer etiquttes words of wisdom is one way or another.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 12, 2012:

Hi Mary, I'm glad to hear that your granddaughter is doing well. Thank you for sharing her story, someone else could benefit from it.

Nell Rose from England on September 09, 2012:

After losing my aunt to cancer it was such a shock, even though I knew her mother had it, it still seemed so unfair, and I think thats one of the main things about it, it isn't picky about who it chooses. a very good friend of my son had it last year, so this is such an important hub, really informative and useful, nell

Rema T V from Chennai, India on September 09, 2012:

Hi Linda,

I can't thank you enough for this great hub, so informative, most of the things being new to me because I have not come across or cared for a cancer patient in the family or friends' circle. You have explained the cancer etiquette in a clear and understandable manner. Thank you very much.

Cheers, Rema.

Mohan Kumar from UK on September 09, 2012:

This is such an inspiring and important hub. I wish everyone would read it, including Doctors. The simple etiquette of communication and care seems to escape many. As always you say it like it is, simple, direct, true and powerful. You are one in a million, Linda.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 01, 2012:

I don't think there are many people whose lives have not been touched in some way by this horrible disease. I didn't realize there were different colored bracelets for different types of cancer. One of my granddaughters who is 21 just had a bone marrow biopsy done because her white cell count was extremely low. Thanks goodness it was not leukemia as we feared. She had had a bad bad viral infection and that seems to be the reason for the low count. She is fine now.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 01, 2012:

Hi Mary and Julie, Thank you for your support in helping spread the Cancer Etiquette that we could all learn from. I appreciate you both!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 01, 2012:

Daisy, I agree how your mother was treated is plain wrong. Hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.

Michelle, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

Terrye, There was a time when I was clueless as to what to say. I'm not anymore. Experiene teaches us. Hey, thanks for the chime!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on September 01, 2012:

Linda, Pinned, tweeted and posted on Facebook - great info and advice. Oh, also voted up and shared :o)

Mary Craig from New York on September 01, 2012:

Here I am, johnny-come-lately again, but this message will never grow old. You've written a hub that everyone should read...whether people are tactful or not, thoughtful or not, this is great information. People are often uncomfortable or unsure of what to say and this is a great guide. I, like you, do not have cancer but it has taken and touched so many close to me.

Voted this all the way across except funny, and pinned and sharing with my followers.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 01, 2012:

Very helpful stuff, Sunshine. I never know what to say to someone that has cancer or is terminal. And that makes me very uncomfortable. This will at least give me a clue at what I can do the next time. Thank you. Voted up and shared everywhere...and chimed. :)

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 01, 2012:

Excellent read, Linda. I like how you wove the tact factor into this. Certain things should really not be said! Cancer is everyone's enemy and no one should have to deal with it. Thanks for the wisdom.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 01, 2012:


This article was very difficult for me to read. It caused me to recall the cruel and thoughtless way in which several people treated my mother after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Suffering from cancer was bad enough, but for my mother to be treated as though she had the plague, for people to not want to be around her was just plain wrong!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 31, 2012:

Excellent points Keith. I appreciate you stopping by and I also with you good luck!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 31, 2012:

Hi Julie, Thanks for sharing.

KDuBarry03 on August 23, 2012:

Cancer may be inevitable for now, but that doesn't change the fact we can help as many people as possible! I have a family line, from both sides of my parents, who have been afflicted with different types of cancer. One of the best things to do, via my experience, is to treat them like another person and have as many laughs and fun memories as possible :)

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on August 23, 2012:

Excellent article. Having gone through this with my father-in-law, it is spot on!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 23, 2012:

Thank you Alecia, Ruchi and Thomas for sharing your thoughts with us. I thought this article would come in handy for those people who were unaware of the correct things to say or do. At least I hope they benefit from this.

ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on August 22, 2012:


I learned a lot of these when I was in the trenches with my mom. You speak very eloquently to all of them and could have used the primer sheet...there were times when I was just thrashing about blindly. Unfortunately, cancer is still out there and I'm more than sure this will help others!



Ruchi Urvashi from Singapore on August 22, 2012:

Yes, cancer is difficult to deal with. I have not yet encountered cancer in my personal life or my family. However, it is still good to read about it.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on August 22, 2012:

Cancer is one of the few things in life I hate. And I don't say that lightly. People need to realize that just because someone has cancer doesn't mean they've stopped living. We need to provide understanding, compassion, support, and most importantly love. That's the greatest thing you can share with someone fighting cancer. Awesome hub!

34th Bomb Group from Western New York State on August 10, 2012:

:-) !!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 10, 2012:

Sending you positive thoughts 34th! :)

34th Bomb Group from Western New York State on August 10, 2012:

Thanks so much!

This was "sperm bank" week. Onward & upward from here.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 10, 2012:

Hi 34th, First off I'm sorry for the journey you and your son are on. I wish you the best outcome possible. A friend of mine also has a son who was DX'ed and treated for Testis Cancer at a young age. He's doing just fine now and has a couple of children also. She would be more than happy to communicate with you for support. I wrote a hub about her ... Gangsta Granny. Thank you for sharing with us. Please keep in touch.

34th Bomb Group from Western New York State on August 10, 2012:

Thank you, Sunshine. A fellow Hubber referred me to this article and I am very grateful he did!

My son was recently diagnosed with Stage III Testis cancer. The offending organ was removed and it doesn't appear that it has metastasized. He will begin chemotherapy in a week or two.

Of course I'm scared to death. He's only 22 and my only child. But he's a tough kid and I'm planning on him mucking his way through this. At this point there is NO other option than his survival. Should that change in future, we'll deal with it then. I'm not saying we're ostriches, but I refuse to fall immediately into the "terminal" category. That would, I think, be giving up before he starts.

The Doctors are very optimistic and I take my lead from them. We're lucky in that we have the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. People from all over the world come here to be treated.

I'm trying to not treat him any differently - after the first half hour after he told me and I sobbed in his arms. It hit me at that point that I'm the Mom and I should be comforting him. I'm following his lead, which is sometimes frustrating, but we WILL get through this.

Thank you for some much needed advice!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 03, 2012:

Hi Healthylife, Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I wish you the best of health.

healthylife2 on July 24, 2012:

This was an amazing hub and I love the way you tell it like it is. When I went through ovarian cancer I found hugs,humor, and people telling me they were thinking of me so helpful. I didn't find it helpful when people asked if the chemo worked, what my prognosis was, or told me I was brave. I was so glad to have my husband and kids there because they really knew what I was going through and knew how to be there for me in exactly the way I needed.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 03, 2012:

Hi Kelley, I only recently learned more about Diabetes and I feel for you. I've seen so many patients receiving daily antibiotics from IV's because they had a small cut on their toes. I had no idea the feet had to be protected due to sensitivity. That's just one issue. I wish you luck and good health. Thank you for sharing!

kelleyward on June 25, 2012:

What an important hub Sunshine! I haven't had cancer but I have diabetes and many of these things ring true with that disease. Telling people what they shouldn't have done, how to manage their disease, etc is not helpful for the one who has cancer. It's also important to treat them like the human being they are and offer help, meals, prayers, and continued friendship. One of my friends had melanoma and for 1 year she had to undergo extreme treatment where she couldn't work and needed help with childcare, meals, trips to the cancer treatment center. She amazed me with her positive attitude. I tried to help her as much as I could but I also wanted her to know she could ask me anything and talk to me about anything. She's thriving today but still has to deal with the thought of cancer in the back of her mind. I'll send this hub to her. Voted up and Shared! Kelley

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 28, 2012:

I'm sorry for your losses Julie. Your comment will be appreciated by many. Thank you for sharing.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 28, 2012:

I agree alocsin. Every day many people receive the dreaded cancer diagnosis and we aren't sure what to say or do. I hope these tips help them. Thank you for your thoughts.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on May 28, 2012:

Hi Martie, I wish your friend good luck. He's lucky to have you in his life during his journey. Always in my thoughts.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on April 14, 2012:

Most of us will be touched by cancer in some way throughout our lives and until we are - we need help on how to help the person who has it. I lost both grandmothers to it, a friend at the age of 32 and another friend last year who I am so grateful to have seen the week before she died and remember now how much we laughed together. One of the most important thing you mention here is to keep in touch with people with cancer - always time well spent. Excellent hub, voted up, shared, etc,etc

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 14, 2012:

It's frightening how this disease has touched more and more people in my life. Sometimes I just don't know what to do or say so thank you for the etiquette tips. Voting this Up and Useful.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 14, 2012:

I need to know this now - what to do and not to do. Thank you, Linda, for all the tips.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on April 14, 2012:

I sure hope so Eddy. Have a wonderful weekend!

Eiddwen from Wales on April 14, 2012:

This will without a doubt benefit many readers.

A great hub ;take care and I wish you a wonderful weekend.


Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 27, 2012:

I understand your point of view Larry and I appreciate you sharing it with us. We are all entitled to our opinions depending on our circumstances and what we witness.

I also had family members who declined treatment. It was their choice and they are missed. I have a strong feeling what I would do if I was in the position to decide.

Thank you again for your thoughts.

Larry Wall on March 27, 2012:

I will read your hub, but I do not think any cures are being withheld. Sometimes a cure for one person could be fatal to another. If that is the case, is it really a cure if you do not know how the person will react.

I hate to disagree, but I do not think there are any secret cures being withheld. There may be some cures that are still in the testing stage. If pharmaceutical companies wanted to make money by keeping the cures secret, why would they invest in finding the cures. If independent scientist find the cures, they are smart enough to protect their patents and license them to companies that would actually produce the medication.

It use to be argued that tire makers did not make better tires because they would not sell as many. As technology improved, tires improved.

I have had numerous relatives, aunts, uncles and others die from cancer. As you know there never will be one single cure because cancer is not just one disease. It is a group of diseases and progress has been made. Be grateful. My mother died of ALS. There is not only any cure, there is no treatment. You just make the patient as comfortable as possible and watch them die.

You may disagree with me and that is your right.

I have known people who declined cancer treatments. That is their right. I do not know what I would do if I had the disease. I will make that decision if I ever am stricken with it and the decision will be based on the type of cancer, my overall health, my age, the prognosis and other similar factors.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 27, 2012:

somethgblue, I agree in so many ways!! Thank you for sharing your link. Your article will be appreciated by many. In one way or another we could all relate. I appreciate you!!

somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on March 27, 2012:

Yes, Cancer Sucks, no doubt about it however like a lot of things sometimes the knowledge and information that is with held from us can make all the difference in how we perceive subject. I personally refuse to play the Cancer Game of unending treatment even if it leads to my death.

Here is a link to the story I wrote on what is being with held from the American Public . . . . . Knowledge Is Power and those that don't have it usually end up paying for it!

It is called Get Off Your Knees . . . .

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 27, 2012:

Hi somethblue, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your comment. I also believe there is a cure, but we will never know because the pharmaceutical industry and oncologists would go bankrupt. Cancer care treatment is VERY expensive. Millions of people are in debt due to medical expenses. They will never get out of that debt. Let's hope someone does finally does have a heart and comes forward with the cure.

Also, could you please post a link to your hub here...others might find it useful also. Thank you!

somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on March 25, 2012:

Good article . . . 'These cells are inactive until they become active' which means they become active for a reason. I have always found it interesting that the only person in our family that could afford the type of cancer that is treatable is the only person that has ever gotten it. Makes one wonder . . . after all we all eat the same food have the same lifestyle and yet the wealthy member gets an incurable disease that eats up his life and money . . . Hmmmm!

I wrote and article called Get Off Your Knees that has some interesting facts about cancer you might want to take a look at . . . or not.

I personally think it is a scam and that we have had a cure for it for a very long time. I was diagnosed with melanoma four years ago but refuse to treat it and it hasn't spread or affected my life in any way, shape or form.

I think the treatment is the disease and refuse to participate, my family thinks I'm crazy but . . . hey it may very well be a state of mind.

To claim we don't have the cure is total nonsense in my opinion. Ever wonder why the country with the greatest level of living conditions spends more money on the Wealth Care system than any other industry . . . kind of hard to make money on a light bulb that last forever.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 24, 2012:

Larry, If this boy was brave enough to come into a drug store wearing his pajamas and robe to sip a soda I'm sure he knew he was more than just a disease. There is no need to regret not approaching him. He was younger and probably would have felt comfortable speaking. Just feeling someone's caring presence is more important than words at times. I'm sure he felt your presence. I did just from your story. Thank you for sharing. I hope it helps someone else in that position.

Larry Wall on March 24, 2012:

Excellent hub. My sister and sister-in-law are breast cancer survivors. My former secretary had breast cancer well over 10 years ago and is doing fine.

However, it is still a scary disease and it is one that should not be viewed as anything else. The advice you give is excellent.

I worked in a corner drug store when I was a teenager. We had a customer, whose son had bone cancer and was taking some heavy meds for that time (1960s). Every now and then the son would come with his Dad to get the meds, wearing his pajamas and robe. He would have a soft drink while his father talked to the pharmacist. I regret that I did not attempt to make conversation with him. He was several years younger and I was only 16 and not very good at beginning conversations, but I wished I had, just so he would had known that I saw him as a person and not just as someone with a horrible disease.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 23, 2012:

Thank you Made. Your comment means a lot:)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 23, 2012:

Way to go Weezy for beating the beast! Wishing you continued success with your journey! Thank you for sharing your peeves with us. I will be sure and stop by your hub.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 23, 2012:

Hi Audra, That's quite a compliment and I thank you. When I feel strongly about an issue I tend to go full force supporting it and leave no stones unturned. I appreciate you!:)

Madeleine Salin from Finland on March 23, 2012:

This hub can help many people, who don't know how to act when they hear about a friend or relative that has been diagnosed with cancer. You should be proud of this hub, Linda. It's really good and helpful.

Lisa from Central USA on March 23, 2012:

You said it all! As a cancer survivor myself, you have no clue. Everything you said is spot on. I think people don't know how to react or what to say, and I think they really are trying to help in their own way. I may add one thing to your list if you don't mind. That is asking what they ate today or did you eat? That drove me crazy!! P.S, it's okay to call but not 8 times a day. I have an article I wrote on Chronic Illness Etiquette. Explaining pretty much the same thing. Thank you for this

iamaudraleigh on March 23, 2012:

Linda, I think you have found a calling in the field of psychology, coping skills, and mindfulness. You have strong passion for the subject matter you have written and it shows! You know how to talk to people and know how they tick. Also, you know how people need to be addressed when they are trying to beat the big C!

My Grandfather succumbed to lymphoma in the 1980's. It was hard for my father to see him die. People like you would have been great to have around when that was going on!

Thank you for writing this...voted up...and shared!!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 10, 2012:

braincancersux, I understand your frustration. Wishing you a positive outcome. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

braincancersux on February 05, 2012:

The one comment that I have hated the most is, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Wow. What I really want is, "This blows." Those faux positive comments are the worst. And one thing I've learned is that people turn their backs because your cancer makes them uncomfortable. I have very little support from family because they can't cope with my terminal illness. It's baloney!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 04, 2012:

Thank you for your comment weezy. I will stop by to read your hubs also.

Lisa from Central USA on January 11, 2012:

You hit the nail right on the head. You said it when I didn't have the guts to a long time ago. You wouldn't believe the things people say. However; in their defense from being on both sides of the equation, You don't know what to say. It's a darned if you do, darned if you don't kind of deal. I have about 3 hubs on cancer you can read here if you wish.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on December 27, 2011:

Hi Susan, Yes everyone does handle cancer differently. We all do the best we can with the knowledge we have.

Congratulations to you for being a survivor...wishing you continued success.

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on December 27, 2011:

Excellent tips. I had a good friend who I saw a lot when I was battling breast cancer, others I didn't see until I went back to work almost a year later. But, I guess everyone handles it differently.

Personally, I did find it helpful to try and be positive through all my treatments. That doesn't mean I was always positive, that is impossible.

One thing, my sister refuses to discuss it even after all this time. Every time I would bring up my cancer, she would change the subject.

I'm now a 14-year cancer survivor.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on December 26, 2011:

Sunshine these are incredibly important tips. Cancer has become so prevalent today and it can be uncomfortable for family and friends to communicate. Who would think one would ever have to consider Cancer Etiquette? Thank you for providing these tips and for sharing your perspective. I wish nothing but the best for you and Dave. I know you are a fighter and your happy spirit warms me to no end. Thank you for being YOU!!! Fight on sister friend! You are an awesome advocate and supporter.

HEART ya' !!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on December 23, 2011:

Thank you for the link prasad!!

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