How to talk to someone who’s dealing with cancer

Does surviving a cancer diagnosis make you feel like you’ve won the lottery?

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Not according to one cancer survivor, who was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago.

Writing for the Daily Mail Tessa Cunningham says whenever someone tells her how lucky she must feel there’s a part of her that want’s to punch them in the face, and snarl “How bloody dare you!”

“Because the truth is they haven’t got a clue,” Cunningham writes. “You see, what they count as my good luck has nothing to do with all the wonderful things in my life. They are not referring to the fact that I have two gorgeous daughters, a loving partner and a satisfying career. That’s all true and, yes, it does make me feel more blessed than I can find the words to say.

“But the reason I am told I should feel lucky is simply that I am not dead. By that argument every one of us should feel lucky — all the time.”

Cunningham says it’s party because cancer survivors try to keep optimistic, because anything else is too horrible to contemplate.

“If we work hard enough, we actually manage to believe the comforting lies we tell ourselves. And gosh, did I work hard.”

The Cancer Treatment Centres of America has suggestions for talking to someone with cancer. They say it’s import to think before you speak as your words can be very powerful. Avoiding words like hero and battle, are some tips, as well as avoiding preaching to them, like telling them to stay positive.

Instead, they suggest you listen, let them take the lead with conversation and to show them you care through simple things, like a hug, or offering to help with errands.

Have you had a brush with cancer? How did it make you feel afterwards