20 Encouraging Cancer Quotes for Patients to Inspire Hope

When it comes to cancer, we understand that finding the right words can be a challenge. Whether you or a loved one is going through a cancer journey, learning how to give and ask for support can take time. Having a supportive quote or two on hand can be a great relief when you are in need of some calming words to cherish or share. 

In this article, we compiled a list of our favorite cancer quotes that aim to inspire hope and encourage an optimistic outlook for those battling cancer. If you or your loved one would appreciate a positive quote, here 20 inspiring quotes for someone going through a cancer journey:

“You have to be willing to give up the life you planned, and instead, greet the life that is waiting for you.”

Joseph Campbell

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”

Samuel Smiles

“Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope, it cannot conquer the spirit.”


“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – that’s why it’s called ‘the present.'”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun.”

Ruth Westheimer

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.”

Peter Marshall

“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin.”

Mother Teresa

“Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound.”


“Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing; God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.”

St. Teresa of Avila

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1

“Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.”

Rabindranath Tagore

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2

“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”


“Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today.”

Peter Kuzmic

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”


“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Albert Camus

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”

Sonia Ricotti 

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”


“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.”

John Diamond

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”

Isaiah 43:2

Our Community’s Favorite Encouraging Cancer Quotes

For more quote ideas, we reached out to the empathetic CaringBridge community, many of whom with lives that have been touched by cancer. We asked them to share encouraging words that they’ve heard or shared:

“When I was given a short time to live, I was told by one of my kids, ‘Mom, you’re a fighter! Let’s do this!”’

Shared by Mary Bollinger Appelhanz 

Jaxson and Judy Martinez

“A complete stranger overheard a conversation between the pharmacist and myself the day that we received my husband’s diagnosis of an aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As I prepared to leave, this gentleman apologized for listening to us, but felt like he needed to share these words: ‘My wife & I were where you are a year ago. Please remember to never give up HOPE!’ We never forgot those words from a complete stranger and are forever thankful.”

Shared by Bobbie Harrington Henry

“My first oncologist told me: ‘When you read about the statistics/prognosis; remember that you are NOT a statistic, you are YOU and you are unique.’ The prognosis I later read about was not good, so his statement always gave me hope. I have survived over 10 years. The prognosis was 2-3 years. He was right!!”

Shared by Karen Kockelman Schultz

“Cancer is a marathon – you can’t look at the finish line. You take it moment by moment, sometimes breath by breath, other times step by step.”

Shared by Sarah Betz Bucciero 

“Plan for the worst, hope for the best and live for the moment!”

Shared by Tiffany Smith

“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know WHO holds tomorrow.”

Shared by Sigrid Devida

“People who said ‘I am here for you’ were some of the sweetest words I ever heard.”

Shared by Sylvia Ramsey Savage

We hope these quotes have been helpful in offering some encouragement or peace, or gathering inspiration for what to say to a loved one. Sometimes, the best words are simply, “I love you, and I’m here for you.”

Please let us know in the comments if there are any more quotes that helped you or a loved one through their cancer journey! We’d love to hear from you.

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  • Pat Eichinger

    These quotes are wonderful, thank you. I was given less than 6 months to live, that was 13 years ago. Every day I would ask God to hold my hand and everyday I felt a warmth in my hand and peace.

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  • Paresh Sheth

    I have liver cance . Opreted twice in last 4 years
    Fighting like worrier & wish to inspire cancer patient to fight with smiling face

  • Jerrold Thomas

    It unbelieve that I’m still alive. I have smoked millions of cigarette, well I think about half a million in 45 years. I stopped some 9 years ago. So I have severe COPD, and a lung function of about 15%. I’ve done pulmonary rehabilitation three times in the last 6 years and currently go to an exercise class every week. I need to take lots of different types of drugs, and carry a portable oxygen cylinder around with me so I don’t get too out of breath. I began healing herbs from World Rehabilitate Clinic Herbs specializes in internal and pulmonary herbal medicine and in three months I was completely cured, visit ( worldrehabilitateclinic. com ).

  • Carmila

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  • Mark Hamlin

    Great read!!! Thanks for sharing such a great blog.

  • Grace Christovasilis

    I know we all struggle with different chronic disease, When you put God first soon enough you will find solution. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 cervical cancer (adenocarcinoma) at age 36. I was a single mother with two children, ages 6 and 8. I had abnormal Pap smears starting 8 years prior, when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was never told that I had HPV, even though I did. After each abnormal Pap test result, I would have a LEEP and colposcopy. I was cured naturally with the use of  World Rehabilitate Clinic Herbal Formula. Visit: ( worldrehabilitateclinic. com )

  • Lillian Adams

    All thanks to God Almighty who use Dr. Odidi to cure me from Herpes virus with his herbal Medicine, For those suffering from the same Virus You can contact Dr. Odidi he can also cure your health issues Like HBP, Hepatitis B Virus, Herpes virus Infection, Cancer, and Pile Infection etc.: (odidi spell temple@ gmail .com)

  • Cheri Kelly

    I have pancreatic cancer. I know people mean well, but I hate it when they say “you’ve got this”. Really?? How do you know that? You don’t know my journey. “you’re a strong woman, you’re a fighter”. I’m not a strong woman. This is absolute hell on my body. How about a phone call to ask if you can come for visit? or get me out of my house, or make me a meal? or go with me to get a wig, or just to hug me.

  • Leah Rogers

    I was once a patient diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. It was May 2016 when doctors told me I had months to live, but the worst thing was telling my children. My husband Dave, took part in a research project which involved a trip to South Africa to Dr Sims Gomez Herbs Clinic. He purchased the Herbal formula at ( drsimsgomezherbs. com ), Three months after taking the herbal herbs I went for a checkup and there were no signs of Pancreatic cancer. I also learned how much friends and family can be part of getting well. Our circle of friends and relatives was an incredible support. I would encourage anyone to seek second opinion especially if you’ve been told there’s no hope.

  • Anonymous

    This article is great. I found a cancer community app that can be comforting for many people. Check it out https://tinyurl.com/nhzyc4rx

  • Pamela

    We are all so different in the manner in which we respond to life-threatening diagnoses. Caring Bridge means well with these quotes… so did a longtime friend of mine ~ I refer to her as the Queen of Kindness ~ who smothered me with “cheery” notes after my diagnosis for pancreatic cancer. The frequency of her notes was a regular reminder to me that something was wrong. It conflicted with my desire to live as normal of a life as possible when life wasn’t very normal. I’m maybe too much of an introvert ~ and my Whipple surgery and COVID have made me reclusive ~ to crave an outpouring of caring concern. I’m good with being told one time by each of my friends that they will pray for me, for my comfort, peace, healing. What I’m saying is, “One size does NOT fit all” in responding to the serious diagnosis of a family member or friend.

  • Heather McClure

    This was a wonderful article. I am battling stage 4 colon cancer and I have had the most bizarre things ever said to me.
    I have been given hope and I have given hope to others. I have journaled everything from the very beginning, starting almost 2 years ago. One day I hope to write a book, kind of a guide to help others who are on this journey.

  • Livelifetothefullest

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and scriptures. I have a sister who has brain tumors and a cousin who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I want to be supportive and say the right things but I don’t know what to say and this website has given me insight as to how those who have cancer feel. I don’t want to say “I know how you feel”, or “It’s going to be ok”, or “You are a fighter” because I don’t know how my loved ones feel because I’ve never had cancer. I don’t know if it’s going to be ok or not, although I pray they are. And, I know they are fighters but I also know Chemo and Radiation brings their immune system down and they feel weak. All I know is that I love them SO much and I want to be there for them. And, that my Heavenly Father knows how we feel and what we need. That he will never leave us and no matter what we go through in life, it’s NOT his fault. We are all imperfect and we are going to go through good and bad times but at least we have our Heavenly Father who gives us that hope. I pray for each one that has been diagnosed with cancer or any other disease. Although I do not know y’all, I do know my sister and my cousin and I love them so much and I love all people because that is what Jesus instructed us to do, Show love for each other. Thank you so much for sharing your stories so that people like myself can know what to do or say and what not to do or say, BIG BEAR HUG.

  • Maurice

    A quote I saw regarding Veteran suicide seemed to fit my outlook as well. “You may see me struggle…but you will never see me quit.,”
    My sentiments exactly as I am diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 4. My wife and I are also members of Caring Bridge.

  • Christo

    My wife Riana has been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. It has been a tough journey with chemotherapy, radiology and above all there was a spider bite ( ground recluse) in between her chemo treatments. . First, she found her calmness and encouragement in the Word of God. Secondly, the doctors said she can eat everything she wants. That starts our journey of research on food. Really, we cut down on no sugar at all, no alcohol, no coffee, no processed food, enough sleep , meditation and walking an hour a day. We start with home prepared food with organic, non-GMO ingredients. We also increase Vit C, Vit D3, Vit BCo,Vit E, Magnecium and Zinc. With the grace of Jesus it has been 10Years.

  • Sandy Bova

    Thank you so much for these encouraging words.. I was especially happy to see several scriptures in the list…they are what help me most. My favorite is Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you..be not afraid for I am your God….

  • Marilyn Kropp

    Beautiful thoughts ❣️

  • Mark Kageyama

    Beautiful quotes! Love it!

  • Ruby Bivens

    Thankyou for sharing these wonderful words of this caringbridge site. I have been with my clients as they reached their journey to Heaven. I continue to care for my other clients daily with love. I have been looking for a group site such as this one “caring bridge “to be a part of.

  • Mohammad Ghandchi

    I have my brother diagnosed with cancer. We were more friends beyond brothers. 2 days ago I got the news and I started looking for help I am happy to find this site. Great work.

  • Tyson Lucas

    ‘If your body can make it your body can break it’ it’s just that simple.

  • Trevor Stewart.

    “The darkest hour is always the one before the dawn”.

  • Tony Sambunjak

    I have been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Brain Tumor in June of 2020….What a year, right? Well…. after the shock news like that I have decided to live everyday to the best of my abilities and enjoy each and everyone I see. Each day and every person. I want to pass strength and love to my family, friends and fellow cancer fighters. Stay strong and remember one thing. I HAVE CANCER….BUT CANCER DOESN’T HAVE ME.

  • Carol Marsh

    It is so important to “Live your life, and not the disease.” Time is so precious, live each minute of it.Make memories.

  • Vanessa


  • Vanessa

    I have Cancer, Thank you so very much for this site and the words. I pray for all of us.” Jesus lay your hands on our bodies”I am HEADED by his stripes

  • Susan Crosby Taliaferro, RN

    How about just saying, “I am so sad that this has happened to you. Tell me all about it.” Triteness, or saying that you conquer cancer by how you live, which isn’t true at all, are pretty bad choices of what to say. Caring Bridge should know better.

  • Martha Reyna

    These are beautiful quotes having cancer is one of the hardest things for sure . I will fight and be brave .

  • Kristen Calkins

    I was diagnosed with a rare cancer with no cure Parotid gland cancer that metastasis to my lungs) in October of 2017 I do chemo 1x a week for 3 weeks then one week off. I just finished my 100th treatment the day before Thanksgiving. Yea I have hard days but I hang on to faith and that God is good in all circumstances. The faith, hope, and love from him. Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭ So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!

  • Mary Bort-Gross

    I am a 2 year almost 3 year colon cancer survivor. I just want to encourage you to keep going strong. Keep hold to the promise God is always in the midst of the battle. He loves you and cares greatly for you. Let Faith be your armour and God’s Love be your shield. Therefore inner peace you will find.

  • Ashley E.

    “Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you’ve laid out for me.”

  • Philip Seaman

    Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma stage 4. Discovered by coincidence. Surgery June 1st 2020 for a primary tumor in my chest wall. And surgery October 21st 2020 in my lung for a metastatic tumor. Complete removal with wide negative margins. Informed by my oncologist that there no standard treatment only surgery. Next CT scan 12/07/20. Conference with Sloan Kettering 12/01/20 hoping for the best.I feel like I am on a ferris wheel, one moment on top and the next on the bottom. Friends don’t call, they don’t know what too say. And scan anxiety this wonderful day. Philip Seaman.

  • Paul Hansen

    Most people have the best in their heart and a total failure when they open their mouths. They mean well but in their defense really don’t know what to say. When they start with my cousins uncles friend had cancer 10 years ago……..I politely smile and tell them , as I just stopped them from another wincing anecdote and Say Thank you for your kindness and I really appreciate your concern. But in my case I Am Surfing My Own Wave. But again I do appreciate your concern. Most everyone is relieved at not having to talk and realize I am ok with this. God Bless and may you all find comfort somewhere in your life.

  • Lisa R. Rieger

    I am living with MBC with Mets to the Bone which we found 19 years status post Breast Ca Dx and journey. My daughter and I chose quality over quantity. One of my oncologists said that my good fortune was the fact that there are so many drugs out there to use/try on my journey and if one doesn’t work, we move on and try the next and by the time we get to the end, chances are, there will be a new one out. I am now 3 years in after the first 19 years out and I live life like it is a gift. Each day I awake it is like taking a bow off a present. Lisa R. Rieger.

  • Sarge

    The most dreaded effective word ever given to people .In it is suffering every thing imaginable it changes the person the carer the family if there are any nearIt is a constant battle or fear and pain and the using of energy we did not know we had in us.People offer help but at the end of the day it dissolves away and we are forgotten

  • Peaches

    Amazing words!!! Positively is gold!!! All the support and prayer chains ⛓ s what got me through this

  • Patty

    I am in awe of the strength and calming courageous ways of my beautiful niece. May we all learn to live in the moment. One day at a time. Yes with HOPE. peace and love to your journey❤️☮️?

  • Susie Jantz

    Our family is going down this road as our darling son, by marriage, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Kendell has been a teacher, soccer player, coach, husband, father, and a friend to many over the years. He now faces the biggest race of his life and I looked on this sight for words of inspiration as I make a card for him this week. God is with him in this, but the tears and hurt are still there for him, our daughter, and their two young children. This has been so helpful to put words to what is in my heart as I make the card for the week, and I will return each week for inspiration.

  • Maxine Pope

    “One day at a time” ! I can only do this by getting through each day the best I can, then through the night, and when tomorrow comes, I start over!

  • Edward Jones

    Thank you for your encouraging scripture and words,they were right on time,God bless and God Speed ❤?☝

  • Mary R Lawler

    Remember you are the one fighting the battle – and it is up to you how you fight. Never give up on yourself no matter what others say!

  • peter pisani

    Be a peace with the cancer; dont me angry at it and dont say ‘why me’.me- 10 yr plus survivor of pancreatic cancer.

  • Jenny McMillin

    When I was in brain cancer treatment, a cousin who had battled leukemia her whole adult life sent me this quote that really helped me: Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” It’s true! Tragically, she has since died. Miraculously, I have lived 15 years when statistics predicted only 3-5. Praise God. Least helpful: “We don’t know why God does these things…”

  • Michelle Nolan

    I HATE hearing “Everything will be OK” – maybe it won’t be. You don’t know- don’t say that to me. It feels cheap and flippant. It’s a ridiculous thing to say to a cancer patient. So is “you got this” – um, no I don’t. Maybe science does and maybe God does but I certainly do not know how to fix cancer! The other one about being a fighter-I guess. I have no choice- it’s not about fighting hard enough- don’t put that on me- in fact I feel pretty weak and not in control of it all. I’m a pretty positive person but most of these quotes are terrible and I expect more from this organization.

  • Kathy

    Oh, Vicki, my heart goes out to you! It is so painful to see your child suffer. You’d like to just take it on yourself or make it all go away, but you can’t. Please keep loving her even if it seems like she doesn’t respond. Don’t take offense at her actions or attitude. Be there for her even if it means you don’t say a word. Above all, pray for God to comfort, guide and provide for all your family’s needs. Cast your burden on him, because you can’t handle it, but he can.

  • Susie Rosenbluth

    Vicki, anyone who says cancer strikes only the patient has only to read your words here to understand how false that statement is. You express your pain so eloquently, I can’t help wondering if you’ve ever tried writing to your daughter. Of course, maybe realizing that you, too, are in pain is what makes it so hard for her to share with you. You both want to protect each other, and while there is no more truthful evidence of love than that, it also seems to be standing in the way of cementing the relationship you and probably she long for. Try telling her in writing what you told us here. May you both be blessed with only the best life has to offer.

  • Elizabeth Cervini Manvell

    Thanks for the quotes. I was recently diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. Set up my CaringBridge was the best thing I did. The vision of 80 people who care about and love you has made the difference between feeling isolated to feeling a group hug that protected me from loneliness and despair. It rekindled old friendships and loving exchanges of memories and acknowledgment of my impact on the world. I wrote in my journal that it was like the old Coke commercial with people from all over the world perched on a hilltop, singing,
    I’d like to teach the world to sing
    In perfect harmony
    I’d like to hold it in my arms
    And keep it company.

    So I continue to feel loved and supported and connected and hugged. But there is one wire I never want to hear, and that is the hollow promise that it will be okay. It is a well intentioned but false promise. No one knows how things will turn out and to me it is like reassurances given to a child while patting them on their head. I would rather they tell me they have seen how strong I am, that I am loved and present in their hearts, minds, hopes and prayers, that they treasure our friendship and support me in any way they can. Those are the words that create that comforting hug I visualize and feel as they join me on my journey. Thank you, CaringBridge. You have made all the difference in my ability to cope with and fight my cancer.

  • Cynthia Horton

    How wonderful for you to send out these words of comfort from those who have been conforted by them.
    I feel blessed to have read this article today. I want to be ready when the time comes for me to remember
    others in their grief and struggles.

  • Vicki Pfuhl

    My. Daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer about 4 years ago. I cried and prayed. She went through treatment and was cancer free for awhile. But came back and sense then it come with a vengeance. I hurt and cry and pray. I want to take it all away for her,but I can’t. Lately I’ve just I guess kinda stepped back. I think she wants me in there willing to fight along side of her. She’s said things like that. But when I’m there with her instead of keeping me in her support loop, I’ve felt more put pushed away then a mom I need you to. Maybe I’m being selfish or Im not understanding what she needs .but I call her she seems to preoccupied with other things or people. When I’m at her house she seems to spend more time in other rooms with people shes around on a daily basis. I dont understand what she expects from me anymore.
    I have alot of health issues myself but I always try to go see here and other family when I go there. She doesn’t make the trip to see me and family up her. According to a couple of daughters I was even used as an excuse to have a glass of wine. I’m writing this hoping someone can tell me what is going on If I’m in the wrong. I feel like I’m invisible. It hurts me too. She doesnt come to me she goes to her friend’s.
    I love her so much but shes killing me by pushing me to the back. I dont know if she realizes it.

  • Dale J

    My favorite is: “You are NOT a statistic.”

  • laura iversen

    All these comments show that what is a comfort for one person, does not work for another. Peace and good wishes that you get exactly what you need today, whether you have cancer, are a caregiver, or are any other kind of sentient being.

  • Marge Gordon

    Thanks What a lovely way to think about cancer.

  • Susanne

    My only words for 2 people very dear to me at this time with serious cancers I’m thinking of you and keeping you and your doctors skills in my prayers along with comfort and peace.

  • Cathy Wist

    Just breathe, and know that God is in each breath. The “right” decisions will be made, because He will help you make them.
    With much love

  • Paula Phipps

    I strive to make at least one, or more, people I interact with each day to at least smile and hopefully laugh. It is perhaps selfish on my part but somehow I hope it lightens the other person’s mood. It helps me, too. I don’t do it in a demeaning or negative way.

  • Renee

    Thank you for these. Sometimes it is hard to know what to say to someone with a cancer diagnosis.

  • Barbara R

    Scroll down and read Ann’s suggestions from January 2, 2020. There are some really great ideas and thoughts that fit the situation for two of my friends who have had a cancer battle over the past year. Even if you aren’t close friends with the cancer patient there are some wonderful suggestions in her comment.

  • Elizabeth Sullivan

    “You are not your Cancer”

  • Theressa Hanson

    Some of these feel like it’s on me to heal- am I fighting hard enough? Is my faith strong enough? I would avoid anything like that.

  • Lil

    Ralph and I are praying for a good outcome. Praying for the medical staff also.

  • Ann Clark

    It really helped me when my surgery was aborted because they found a metastasis and I suddenly was stage 4 to read the definition of cancer survivor from the National Coalition of Cancer Survivors: “All people diagnosed with cancer are considered a cancer survivor from the day of diagnosis, regardless of the outcome.” It took away my sense of failure.

  • kathleen shun

    You have cancer….but it doesn’t have YOU.

  • Kent Ira Groff

    DO NOT EVER SAY, “Everything will be OK.” That feels cheap and annoying and untrue and aloof.
    TRY: “Things seem so different now, but I’ll /we’ll be with you no mater what…”

  • Paulina Miazek

    Remember the person going through cancer still exists-talk to them as you would normally before their diagnosis. They do not want to be treated as if you are walking on eggshells around them. Be sensitive but be normal.
    My husband took his sister to Karmanos appointment and in the waiting room he saw a patient with a scarf covering her head. Everyone knew my husband to be very religious(handing out Father Solanus badges to everyone) and also very personable and funny at times. He looked at the young lady and said : bad hair day? His sister was upset and said Raymond-how could you/do you know where we are at? The young lady started laughing and thanked him for being the only one treated her normal. A few months later Raymond’s sister ran into the young lady and she was happy and in remission. Oh yes-Raymond gave the young lady a Father Solanus badge.

  • Clarita Seymour

    When I was diagnosed with breast cancer same breast 2nd time I said “I am not going down without a fight”

  • Mary

    You’re a victor over all circumstances with your faith and we stand with you!

  • Mary Crandall

    What a fabulous post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you . You are right,
    sometimes one runs out of the correct things to say that will give cancer
    patients and their families the strength to continue.

  • David W Ranck

    When I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer the SECOND time, I was defeated. But overnight God whispered that He did not create me to be a defeated person, but a winner. So, I put on the armor of God and went to battle. Created a battle plan between my oncologist, people that would uphold me and of course the Lord. “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, (cancer) for the battle does not belong to you, but to God.” 2 Chronicles 20:15. There is my hope!

  • Jacob

    Mt 19:26 says, ‘all things are possible with God’ – there are many things that are impossible for us humans. So please be careful not to communicate
    False hope.

  • Evata H Wallace

    Cancer has taken several of my family. Just recently my niece with brain tumor. I never said any of these
    quotes to her but I went to live with her and her husband to help take care of her for one and one half months. I prayed and sang with her and talked with her about going to be with her loving Savior. She was always positive but accepted God’s Will would be done. Her faith and the grace of God gave her peace and comfort until the end. Everyone should be talked with about their personal relationship with God.
    which will help them more than anything you could say.
    I have had miracles in my life as my son lived and is now 61 years old He had acute lymphatic leukemia at
    5 years old when there was no cure. I think the best thing I did with him was to let him have a normal life
    as well as he could and pray

  • Deborah Carpenter

    This is not an accident I’m reading this at this moment. I was just with my mom earlier today as she just got diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Dean Peck

    As a cancer survivor of 2 different types, and just having recently lost a friend to his 5th different type of cancer I will simply offer that these clichés were not at all helpful to me, and I can see the real potential to do some harm. I am sure they were with good intentions but everything does not apply to everyone. Empathy must be delivered in context to the situation and the individuals involved. This group of “one size fits all does not work” and can be toxic and make things worse. Please rethink advice like this before you send it out. I am a 2x cancer survivor of nearly 40 years. Some words by others to me were very supportive and helpful, but many were not although well intended. The empathic statement also depends on one’s relationship with the cancer diagnosed individual, and must be delivered with appropriate facial expression, tone and pitch of voice–and circumstantial to the situation. I have learned from being on both ends of this dynamic–if u do not know what to say it is better to say nothing. It is better to say “I am at a loss for words, but want you to know that ….. and you fill in the rest based on context. Remember Americas Prisons are a “History of Good Intentions”. Get the point? Peace

  • Janice Hussey

    Kylyssa Shay: Amen to your list. Publish it—and let’s go viral on social media. Or, give me permission to do so on hour behalf with your name attached. You could write a great advice book about how your experiences have shaped you as a caregiver. Bravo!
    (Breast cancer survivor)

  • Sidney F.

    wow. Both the quotes and the comments.

  • Doreen Hoover

    I am saddened by the notes of “this is terrible advise”. Yes cancer is horrible. Some of these comments make me believe that all you should do is curl up and die when given the diagnosis. You have to be a fighter! Faith may give you 2 more minutes with someone before you leave this world. That is 2 more minutes that you would have had. Everything will be ok. So we all know it may not be. But continually worrying about it, TRY to take it 1 hour at at a time that it will be OK. You are not a statistic. True, they may say 3 months, you may get 2 years. Your body and its fight is differant than anyone elses. I am a cancer survivor. 6 months out of chemo for stage 3B colon cancer. I will fight everyday. My friend is stage 4 pancreatic cancer and he will fight till the end. These words may be the uplifting thing that someone needs to have a few more minutes of joy.

  • Christine Peters

    Remove this terrible advice!

  • Kylyssa Shay

    What a bunch of hurtful, patronizing, dismissive junk. I believe they call it toxic positivity these days.

    No, it will not be OK. Cancer is likely the road to death. All six of my loved ones who had cancer died of cancer.

    Cancer is often the final chapter in existence. Cancer often kills slowly and painfully. It’s devaluing, patronizing, cruel, and gross to try to get its victims to act positive so you can feel better about or be in denial of their months or years of suffering. Real world work to reduce their suffering is the ethical, kind, and good thing to do instead of telling them to keep their chin up and keep fighting. Support cancer’s victims by literally helping them individually, by lightening their load of work and responsibilities. Support them by supporting medical research and science-based education. Support them by knocking down trash like this blog post that blames them for being downers while they’re dying.

    Cancer can, and does, destroy both hope and memories. Clearly, the author has never watched anyone die of cancer. Sometimes, cancer directly destroys memories via damage to the brain.

    Faith just makes some people more miserable when they are dying of cancer. People like you frame cancer as something that can always be overcome if you just fight hard enough and pray hard enough. It’s not. All that does is leave believers (like my sister was) hurting and wondering what wrong they have done to deserve the torture of death by cancer. She was the kindest, most giving person. She helped people, even saved a few lives, and she never hurt a fly. Yet folks like you chose to create a culture of victim-blaming to hurt people like her.

    Why not help your readers to actually help their suffering loved ones instead of just helping your readers to feel better about cancer by blowing sunshine up their bums? Cancer sucks. It’s not the job of cancer victims to inspire you.

    I’ve cared for six loved ones through cancer to death. They just want to be loved, valued, appreciated, included in life, and kept as comfortable as possible.

    Some ideas instead of spouting victim-blaming platitudes dressed up as faith-

    1. Cook dinner, clean house, run errands, and do all the disagreeable tasks for your loved one. For example, I made it so my sister never had to scoop the catbox or do any other disagreeable household tasks again once she was diagnosed. I did so by either doing them myself or by arranging to get someone to do those tasks every day.

    2. Be present. Listen. Let them know cancer isn’t their fault, just a consequence of being an organic living creature. Let them know they’re loved.

    3. Keep well-meaning people with quack cures away from them.

    4. Recognize to them that cancer really, really blows. Recognize their grief and your own. It’s OK for them (and you) to get sad, angry, or whatever else they feel about having a possibly or definitely terminal illness. Don’t minimize the situation. This is their life, and maybe their death. You don’t get to tell them it’s not that bad.

    5. Cherish them and give them every physical and emotional comfort you can. Show them there are good days left by making them good when you can.
    Enable them to continue doing what they love as long as possible. Help them keep their independence and dignity as long as possible. Be there when there are no more good days left, and grieve with them if they need you to.

    6. Be on their side, always.

    7. Love them fiercely. Any one of us can die at any time. Cancer is your wakeup call. Love them like living is a limited-time offer, because it is. You lose nothing if they survive cancer and you both gain from the closeness created. And if they lose you first, they’ll have memories of your love.

  • Ann

    Man, this list misses the mark so hard.
    Here’s what you can say when someone is sick so the person knows you love them: I love you so much.
    Here’s what you can say so the person knows you’re sorry they’re going through this: I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
    Here’s what you can say so they know you want to help: I’m here for you. Here are some things I can do to help: make a meal; babysit on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, any time after 5:30 PM; Laundry on Me- I’ll take your laundry to the laundromat to have it done and I’ll drop it off to you when it’s done. I don’t mind doing the laundry myself but I know some people feel funny having people deal with their dirty clothes, so I don’t mind having it done for you. I can do other things, too, but I wanted to give you a few ideas. On Saturday mornings, I’ll text you to see if there’s anything I can do that week. No need to respond at all. I know you’re busy. I just want to put the invitation out there.
    Here’s what you can say to make the person feel better: [hear that? That’s silence. It makes people uncomfortable so they try to fill it with noise. Don’t do that. Silence is okay. It lets people know they aren’t alone because there’s quiet but there’s also company. Someone showed up. How kind and generous and loving to just show up. There’s nothing you can say to make someone feel better when they’re facing such an enormous challenge. Of course there are exceptions and some people appreciate platitudes and that’s fine. Most people don’t, though, and that has nothing to do with you. So just show up. It’s enough,]
    Here’s what to do to make them feel better: [Maybe showing up will make them feel better, maybe it won’t. Still do it. Just don’t look for the gold star. Do it because it’s the loving thing to do. Take nothing personally. No one expects you to fix everything. Or to fix anything. No one expects you to make them feel better. Illness is hard. Let it be hard. Show up when it’s hard. That’s what you can do. Show. Up. Visit if they want visitors. Text every afternoon if they don’t. Do both. Do neither but put a card in the mail every Wednesday. Just show up in a way that will feel meaningful to that person. Be okay with the idea that you may not be able to make them feel better. Love them so well that they don’t feel the need to pretend to feel better around you. Love them so quietly but with such fervor that they don’t need to pretend anything with you.]

  • Chris

    This list is full of what a friend of mine refers to as toxic positivity. What utter nonsense.

  • Philippa

    Are you kidding! Most of these will reduce cancer patients to gibbering rage. Patronising, spiritualistic, unhelpful hogwash.

  • Robert H

    These are truly thoughtless quotes. They don’t even rise to the level of bumper-sticker platitudes.

    “Cancer may have started the fight, but you will finish it.”
    Really? Please explain to me how my wife “finished the fight”, as cancer ate her alive.

    “Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.”
    Fantastic. So, apparently everyone is a Christian. Note to the world’s billion Hindus, half-billion Buddhists, et al — you’re outta luck.

    “Everything will be OK.”
    What’s your definition of “OK”? “Dead”? Really; that kind of claim just makes me want to rip the speaker’s tongue out by its roots. No, it will bloody well NOT “be OK”; not by any reasonable definition of the word.

    Cancer sucks, and grief is hard, but it literally adds insult to injury to parade some kind of Pollyanna, “zip-a-dee-doo-dah” rubbish around as if it’s profound wisdom.

  • Kathleen T.

    Remember…the big C in your life IS NOT cancer… it’s CHRIST!

    I received this message from two dear co-workers when I was going thru treatments in 2011. I’ve carried this in my heart to this day and try to pass it on as often as possible !

  • Nancy and Ted Roney

    I’ve heard/seen this before and loved it so want to share it with you. Perhaps you too have seen it, but this it bares repeating.
    “Cancer cannot cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, destroy peace, kill friendship, suppress memories, silence courage, invade the soul, steal eternal life nor conquer the spirit.”
    Blessings and hugs, always hugs, even from afar!!

  • Cathyjoy

    Thank you for these quotes. As I journey through multiple myeloma, God has placed in my path many people with cancer. Encouraging them encourages me too. These quotes encourage me and I will use them to encourage others.

  • Bob H

    Caring Bridge allowed me to quickly notify family and friends about the progress of my cancer treatment. Now in remission I’m so grateful for those folks who have been there for me!