Partner in the fight against cancer since 1998

Partner in the fight against cancer since 1998




Surely no one would want to deliberately hurt or blame someone for their illness, but unfortunately we often see indelicate communication.

Certainly no one would want to deliberately hurt or blame someone for their illness, but unfortunately we often see indelicate communication. The reason for this is not, of course, usually malice, but rather a lack of attention or knowledge.


In most cases, the cause of the cancer is not precisely defined. Genetics, certain habits, environmental influences, health conditions can all increase the risk, but in most cases we can never know for sure what and when it went wrong during cell regeneration.



It can be very hurtful - and for the reasons described above, unfair - to judge the lifestyle of cancer patients and blame them for the development of their disease. Saying (even behind their back) things like "it was expected that they would get cancer" or "what did they expect, they didn't take care of themselves" to a person who is struggling with the disease is unnecessary and can leave a deep wound in the soul of a person who is already in a difficult situation. True love is to listen and help with tact and without judgement.


We know that many people find it difficult to have a conversation, so we try to point out phrases that are easier to avoid and more pleasant to communicate with. It's also important to be careful of veiled comments, because they can be painful for a cancer patient.



  • I know what you're going through - No, unfortunately we don't really know until we've been through it ourselves. Let them speak, it is discrediting to say that we feel exactly what the patient is going through.
  • I have read and heard that XY had the same kind of cancer - Let's not cite questionable sources and distract by comparing our loved one's story to someone else's (perhaps a celebrity, famous person, neighbour). Keep it real and take seriously the plight of someone you know.
  • I am so worried about you - Trust me, he is worried too. More than we do. We should not expect them to console us by saying "come on, don't worry, there's nothing wrong with me".
  • But I love / loved working with you - By saying this, we are implying that we don't trust their recovery. Rather, we want to make our friend feel that we are with them and believe they will get better.
  • It's not bad, it's very curable - Yes, there are types of cancer that can be cured with good results and those that can be cured with less good results, but we shouldn't trivialise any of them.
  • You are so brave and strong - Usually, in normal life situations you can be. But believe me, a very high percentage of people with cancer feel fragile and weak inside, which is quite natural in this situation.
  • If that happened to me, I don't know how I would cope - Our friend didn't choose to have the disease and is carrying a very heavy burden. Let's not bring this back to ourselves, we are not the protagonists here.
  • We hear so much bad about chemotherapy, radiotherapy etc. - Let's leave it to medical science. Yes, we do hear good and bad, but if we are not experts on the subject, we should not be giving advice on this issue.
  • Live for today - Although there is some truth in this, for a cancer patient, we suggest that there is no knowing what to expect. Do activities with them, try to distract them from their daily struggle. Let's come up with concrete ideas, rather than just general advice to feel good about your daily life now. This sentence has a serious underlying meaning that is easy to misunderstand.
  • Do you still smoke or have you already quit? - By asking this question, we are basically saying that it is no surprise to us that our loved one has cancer. If they are a smoker, we blame them for it, if they have not managed to quit, we point out their weakness. This is hardly the appropriate reaction of a supportive friend or family member.
  • Let me know if I can help you with anything - Nice gesture, but a bit sloppy, probably won't come up on its own in a few days or weeks. Try to be genuinely helpful, ask a specific question, such as "How do you manage lunch? I would like to help you with that". Or: "I'd be happy to take you to the doctor, when are you going next?"
  • With more exercise, healthier food, the problem might have been avoided - a typical victim-blaming phrase that makes no sense and is uselessly clever in hindsight. In most cases of cancer, there is not a strong correlation between a healthy lifestyle and getting sick.
  • Have you had symptoms for a long time? - Perhaps we are projecting our own fears, perhaps we are suggesting that we should have seen a doctor earlier, but it is not a good question to hear. And anyway, how long exactly is "a long time"?
  • What are your chances of recovery? - Whatever it is, let's avoid this tactless question. Although sometimes patients are made aware by their doctors of their prospects, it is one of the heaviest burdens a person has to carry. We should not be the ones to make it worse for him or her, but rather try to be a source of comfort and security for our loved one.
  • Has anyone else in your family had cancer? - If so, it makes sense why he got sick? But it is still just as difficult for the person affected to cope with the disease. And if they haven't? Then surely they did something wrong that could have been avoided? Although the question seems innocent and is not one of the most hurtful, it is important to be aware of the underlying content.

These are just some of the questions that a person with cancer faces every day. Yes, we know it is not an easy situation to deal with, but let us always remember that it is he who is fighting the battle, we can only be partners in the fight. Let's try to help him through empathic, non-judgmental communication, if possible, we don't add to the problems.


Let us care for them with devotion and understanding and accept that the conversations are not about us, but about them. Honest, intimate and supportive meetings can really help our loved one to heal.