Idiotic Insults

YOU GUESSED IT, this page is for all the stupid things people say to people with cancer, because even though they are NOT FUNNY when they happen, it is humorous to read HOW IDIOTIC people are when saying things that should NEVER HAVE BEEN SAID!!  HA!!

Canswear note:  This one is at the top, as it is the grand prize winner:  “You’re still here? I thought you had died.” (Pat Elliot/Jan 2012)

One of the sad, but true, things said to me while out bald was, “Do you have cancer, or are you making a statement?”  This, from a woman in line, at the “dollar store” with me.  I was so shocked, I said “cancer” but instead of an apology she proceeded to let me know how everyone and their mothers around her also had cancer, it must be the water here.  I informed her I had my cancer looooooong before moving to the area.  The things I wish I had said, regarding “statement”:  “Yes, I am in a punk band.”; “Just call me Sinead O’ Connor.”;  “Bald is the new sexy/edgy look, don’t you know?” The retorts about cancer I wish I’d said:  “I have cancer and it IS contagious.” ; “I have cancer, do you have manners?”  Duuuuude, some people!!!  (Canswear/June 2012)

I had someone ask if my husband minded my double mastectomy.  Then they said, “Well, I’m sure he’d rather have you.”  I never really did answer that.  So, here’s my answers now:  “Yes, he married me for my B cup breasts, just my breasts, nothing else.”; “He doesn’t mind, really, but I do.”;  “Breasts are everything to a guy, he’s packing his bags tomorrow and leaving me for someone with original breasts.” ; “Thanks for your concern, I’ll pass it on to him.”  (Canswear/June 2011)

The kicker said to me was (regarding my double mastectomy): “You have nothing on top now.”  I didn’t reply here either, but I should have said, “I still have a brain on top, and it works, this conversation is OVER.”  (Canswear/June 2011)

Then (about my breasts) , “You weren’t that big to begin with.”  True, let’s just get rid of those small ones, cause I’m shooting for Double D implants for new ones, thanks!!! (Canswear/June 2011)

1.  I hope it wasn’t your long luscious hair made your husband attracted to you;  2.  Are you sure the chemo you are getting is the right one?  You aren’t losing any weight;  3.  Do you think your 3 year old will be scared of how you look?  Seriously people?????  I should have told her that for Halloween I was going to be “mommybaldwithcancerzombie” !!!  (Francesca/Jan 2012)

Wow, you don’t look sick.  Or my favorite:  It’s not the bad type of cancer, is it?  (Roger/Jan 2012)

“At least you don’t need to shave” and “but the new chemo you’re on isn’t as bad as the stuff you were on before” …yeah but the second cancer diagnosis (non-hodgkins after just finishing treatment for hodgkins) is much much worse!!!  (Laura Haddad/Jan 2012)

Surprise cornered in the bathroom at work: “You know, we’re all so proud of you. You’re such a free spirit! Oh, by the way, my mom died of Hodgkins in the 60s at around your age. But the medications are much better now!”  (Allie Morse/Jan 2012) (Allie Morse)

“You don’t look sick” yeah, say that to me when you see me without make up and a headscarf…. (Ann Kramer/Jan 2012)

“Splenda causes cancer….don’t you eat alot of that?”  No mom, but thanks for trying to help me figure out what I did to cause my breast cancer and melanoma.  (Nikki/Jan 2012)

2 people told me about the people that they knew that died of breast cancer, they didn’t even try to slip in a survivor story.      (Patti Pasquino/Jan 2012)

1.  I did pcv chemo which is one of the most highly toxic chemo regimens there is (CCNu, procarbazine & vincristine) I was told by a loved one, “your chemo must not be very strong, it’s not making you lose your hair”.  2.  My parents still don’t understand that there is NO CURE for brain cancer. Since I was lucky enough to have a total resection, if I have a recurrence, my dad thinks that means I’ve got a totally new cancer because, “all my cancer cells were removed”. I can’t make them understand.  My type is a mixed glioma between an oligodendroglioma & an astrocytoma.         (Anna Sullivan/Jan 2012)

Just minutes after I was told that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a nurse said, “You got the GOOD kind. If you HAVE to get cancer, this is the one you want.” She then proceeded to tell me that I should just stock up on baseball hats because they would be a good look for me when I lost my hair. My dad left the room in tears. Next to my grandmother’s funeral, that was the only other time I’d seen him cry.  (Amber Masso/Jan 2012)

“So did you get pot?”  (Rachel/Jan 2012)

“If you ever lose your hair, you would look sexy bald..” Sweet, I should go shave it now so I can look sexy…  (Marisa McCay/Jan 2012)

Girl I don’t know how you do it!  You’re strong if it was me, I would be curled up in a corner somewhere!!!! lol  (Candice/Jan 2012)

I know so many people that have died if cancer… (then they proceed to list them). I also love when people don’t even respond and just talk about something else or themselves.  Hello… I just told you I have cancer!  (Shanda Braithwaite/Jan 2012)

“How did you catch it?” “Did you grow up around toxic waste?” “That’s the best cancer (thyroid) to get.”  Yeah, 12 surgeries and radiation twice was great!!  (Kristin/Jan 2012)

Acquaintance: “Was it malignant?” Me: “Yes.” Acquaintance: “Oh, that’s good!”  (Terri Harder/Jan 2012)

My absolute favourite is, “Well, everything happens for a reason.” Really?  I’ve been diagnosed with a rare cancer six times in my young adult life for a reason?  I’d love to know that reason.  Perhaps the same reason some babies come out of the womb with retinoblastoma?  (Laura/Jan 2012)

At least its only skin cancer that shouldn’t be bad at all.  My response was, “You’re right, stage 3 melanoma is nothing.  Four surgeries and a year of interferon was nothing.”  Some people just don’t think.  (Melinda Morrison/Jan 2012)

All from the same woman in rapid fire: “You’re too young to have cancer.” “Did you eat eat a lot of red meat and dairy?” “Did your mom take birth control pills?” I told her that sometimes people just get it. Insert her look of horror.  (Elizabeth/Jan 2012)

Two things: 1) “Already?” Yes, I already have gotten cancer by the time I’m 20. Thanks.  2) “I told you your cat was going to get you sick.” My mother believes that because I’m allergic to cats and that I have one, it must have caused cervical cancer.  (Koko/Jan 2012)

“This is going to make you so strong” (Really?? I didn’t think I was weak!!)  “I am so inspired by you… your hair came back so quickly.” (What?? you are inspired at my ability to regrow hair?)  “You are so lucky, you get a free tummy tuck” (I had a DIEP flap after my bilateral mastectomy) “Everything happens for a reason.” (WTF?? What reason could there ever be for someone getting cancer?)  (Kerry/Jan 2012)

#1) I’m so glad they caught it early! #2)  Just keep your positive attitude and you’ll get through this!  And #3) My friends dog had cancer, and they just put some cream on it, and it (the cancer) just fell off. I’m sure they’ll cure yours soon.  (Um, thanks to all. My cancer is stage 4,  rare, and has very few treatments!)  #4)  “Looking at your life makes me realize how lucky I am! I mean, I have my health, and I’m happily married.”  (This is not helpful encouragement to me, your cancer-having, single-life-enjoying acquaintance!)  (Lisa/Jan 2012)

Oh, well, that’s the best kind to have (referring to thyroid cancer). It’s STILL cancer though!!  (Kelly/Jan 2012)

After I gained weight on ABVD chemo (and was extremely self conscious about it), someone said, “I thought chemo makes people lose weight!”  (Kristin/Jan 2012)

“That’s a really nice tan you got there.”  I live in Ohio, it’s the beginning of December, it’s not a tan, I just went thru a month of radiation.  And, “Well, at least you can pull off the bald look, I would never come outside.”  Haha, I love people.  (Jaci/Jan 2012)

1.)  I went in to see my beautician to have all of my hair cut off as a preemptive strike to chemo….her response was, “Well, half the people in the world will get cancer of some kind.  At least it’s not really a bad type.  And you have to die of something.”    2.)  My dear friend who went with me to get the biopsy done simply looked at me and said, “Well, maybe it’s just your time to go.”  REALLY, Seriously!!!????  All lovely sentiments……..but when you’re fighting for your life……and not intending to roll over and die easily, both were really stupid and insensitive remarks.   (Sharon/Jan 2012)

I’m being treated for skin cancer. Mostly (but not all) pre-cancer basal cell, but it still scared me…I’m very fair skinned and it runs in my family. I put my life on hold, did some crazy treatments to get the deep nasty cells. My friends have mostly ignored this process, which I haven’t decided is good or bad. Anyway, the thing that is being said to me the most? “I need to be treated for skin cancer too. It’s really gotten rid of your wrinkles and fine lines.” or “At least it’s only skin cancer.” and my personal favorite “I wish I had skin cancer, your face looks amazing.” At this point in my life I realize becoming a homicidal manic is not an option.   (April/Jan 2012)

I remember my alcoholic sister calling me to tell me that she would raise my boys for me when I died, and that she would start getting a room ready. If that wasn’t incentive to live I don’t know what was!!  LOL !!  (Pam/Jan 2012)

1.)  I had a lady down the street who told me my tumor was satan living in me and if I would accept her God I would be healed. This was at the bus stop waiting for our children to come home from school. An hour later she brought me over an entire book collection with CDs. I cannot even tell you….there was steam rising from my head.  2.)  The other one I got was multiple people telling me I couldn’t really be “that sick” or have “a bad cancer” (I had stage III rectal cancer) because I didn’t have hair loss from 9 months of chemo.  (Theresa Hazard/ 2012)

I, too, had the “You’re lucky they found it early.” and “That’s the best one to get.” comments. So, now I’m waiting to die. Yay, lucky cancer!!
Ok, this is not when I found out I had cancer, but when I found out my stage 4 cervical lung met was gone:  Me, “It’s really gone?” Oncologist, “Yes, but don’t worry, it’s still going to come back and it’s still going to kill you.”  Nice.
Had so many stupid, insensitive things said and done by folk who supposedly empathize!!  (Aine/Feb 2012)

“Is it the breast? Did they take both off?” (Complete stranger in Walmart parking lot.) Me–”No, it’s a blood cancer and I’m just flat chested due to losing weight from chemo.” ……And “So, does chemo kill cancer, or, why are you on it?” my answer, “Shampoo and hair cuts got expensive.”  (Kristie/Feb 2012)

Yesterday, in my cancer support group, I shared that my tumor markers are on the rise again, and I will probably be switching medications again. Afterwards, one of the “crazy” women, asked me if I believed my current treatment would put me into remission. I explained that since I’m metastatic, my onc doesn’t use that term. She then informed me that she was told she wouldn’t go into remission, but she decided that she would and so she did!!! Wow…so, that’s been my problem all along…a lack of belief I would achieve remission? What??? I explained that each medication has worked for about 7 months (so technically, remission) and then she confessed that she, too, was only in remission for months at a time. Sigh. Too much ignorance… (Cynthia/Feb 2012)

My oncologist told me, “You’ll probably get arthritis in that shoulder.”, since I had surgery around it to remove cancerous lymph nodes.  Thanks, doc, I have something to look forward to now, on top of the chronic pain I already have from surgery!!  Yay cancer!!  (Not.)  (Canswwear/Feb 2012)

1.)  Someone said that he could relate to what I was feeling–with my stage 4 diagnosis–because he had been really disappointed in the past by a sports injury he had.  2.)  Someone else said that cancer is caused by negative feelings, so if I just had more positive feelings, I could get out of what I had caused.  3.)  After I was told I had “no evidence of disease”, another friend said, “So what are you going to change to make sure you don’t get cancer again?”  (I’m someone who is very healthy and didn’t have any of the risk factors.)  4.)  When my white blood counts were dropping like a stone from chemo, my neighbor told me about a friend who had gotten an infection while on chemo, was admitted to the hospital within hours of getting a fever, and died the same day.  Very reassuring!!  5.)  Another friend questioned whether deciding to have surgery suggested that I didn’t have enough faith in God.  (Eric/February 2012)

My husband had to miss a big French test to take me to a major post-op appointment.  This guy in his class says to my husband, “I wish that my wife had breast cancer so I could miss the test too!”  I can’t wait till I actually meet the guy, because the first thing I’m going to do is punch him right in the face and say, “I’m the b!t(h who’s husband had to miss the test because his wife had breast cancer!!”  Jealousy is overrated and karma is a B!t(h and I hope his wife never gets breast cancer!!  (Donna Kaufman/!/pages/Kill-The-Beast/146300852076077 Kill the Beast (cancer) FB page/Feb 2012)

I was told by someone I had just met that they knew of someone who had ovarian cancer stage 4 and got rid of it by changing her diet, rather than chemo and surgery.  Yeah, right.  (Andrea Stevenson/March 2012)

I have stage IV colon cancer, I always get: “Well, at least you get to lose weight.”, “You don’t look sick.”, “You will be fine.”, and “So and so beat it, so you definitely can.”  (Erin Gray/July 2012)

After my mastectomy, a relatives asked me if I “lost weight”.  And, someone at work, when I was in radiation, asked me, “But radiation, that doesn’t really do anything to you, right?”  I wanted to say, “Uh, have you ever heard of radiation?  No, it is like kittens who come and lick the cancer away!”  And if someone ever says to me, “Well, you could get hit by a bus.” My answer will be, “Yes, but that bus is not following you around with your name on it!!”  (Suzanne/Feb 2013)

I had a brace on my leg and walking on crutches after having a tumor and 2 of my quad muscles removed from my thigh.  I was at a store and a lady asked what happened, so I told her.  She said, “I broke my foot, I know what you are going through.”  (Natalie/Feb 2013)

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Copyright 2011  (The Canswear website and commentary (noted as Canswear) is the intellectual property of Dara Insley.)


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