At the moment, a majority of people either know someone who has cancer or has been directly affected cancer. Either a family member, a close friend or someone they are acquainted to was diagnosed with cancer.
When visiting a cancer patient, it can be hard to find the right words to say, how to comfort them and make them feel better.
People tend to make the simplest mistakes with their choice of words and this leaves the patients feeling worse.
These are some of the things you should try to avoid saying to a cancer patient.
You look great, you don't look sick
This statement is usually intended to make one feel better about themselves. Yet, many a times the patient is usually uncomfortable and feels the need to explain to people why they do not look too sick.
What if the patient chose to stop their chemo treatment to take care of themselves and enjoy life for as long as they can and that is the reason for their glow?
Some statements come off as insensitive to the patients.
Telling stories of cancer patients you know/knew and what happened to them
Naturally, people will try to make a connection to an illness but having cancer is different. People have different types of cancers and they were diagnosed at different stages. If you know someone who did not need chemo or radiation treatment, or someone who succumbed shortly after diagnosis, it does not necessarily mean that this specific person will have the same fate.
Telling cancer patients such stories only demoralizes them and makes them lose hope in the treatment. It also portrays an idea that you do not wish them well and this might break the bond you both have.
I have never liked big breasts
You may want to connect with a friend who has just undergone a masectomy or a double mastectomy, but this statement is a No! No!
The pain of losing your breasts surgically does not match up to any issues caused by having big breasts. These patients had their breast tissues removed not because they wanted to but because this was the only way to save their lives.
Talking about how you hate having big breasts, or how you hate big breasts and would rather get rid of them, can easily come off the wrong way.
This kind of talk also makes the patient feel like a lesser person for not having anything worthy of complaining about.
Everything happens for a season and for a reason
This statement could mean many things.
It could mean that the patient needed this experience for them to see life from a different perspective or that God is allowing this to happen to them for bigger reasons that are known only to Him.
Also, try to avoid telling the patient that God does not give people what they cannot handle. Such statements test the faith of many patients at a time when they need God the most. Such statements can sow a seed of doubt in the patients.
You will be fine
Everyone wants to hope for the best when someone close to them is sick. However, this statement is a blanket statement and can make the sick person feel like their condition is not being taken with the weight it deserves.
Even though each cancer is different, they are all horrible diseases and everyone dreads being a victim. Many cancer patients are never out of the woods as there are always chances that the disease could come back at some point in their lives. Such statements could make the patients start imagining the worst about the future.
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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke