Don’t Say These Stupid Things To People With Kidney Cancer & Their Families

  • “It will all be okay about kidney cancer ,I just know it.”
  • “Someday you will put this all behind you” (to a stage IV patient)
  • “Don’t worry, things will get better.” (to a stage IV patient)


  • “So when will you be all better?” (to a stage IV patient)
  • “When will your kidney cancer be gone?” (to a stage IV)
  • “But you don’t look sick.”
  • “Lance Armstrong cured his stage IV kidney cancer. You can too.”
  • “But I thought you had chemo and surgery last time. How could it be back? This is why people shouldn’t do chemo.”
  • “Do you think it was a waste to do chemo last time?”
  • “Live in the moment.” “Be strong.” “Fight hard.” “Keep your chin up.” “Don’t give up.” “Attitude is everything.”
  • “We just need a miracle for you.”
  • “If anyone can beat this, you can.”
  •  After telling someone I had stage IV: “Wow. I’m going to miss you.”
  • “Is it terminal?”
    “What’s your prognosis?”
    “It could be worse, you know.”
    “Everything happens for a reason.”
    “It’s all part of a larger plan.”
  • “You’re only given what you can handle.”
  • “All you need to do is think positive.”
  • “Half the battle is the mindset. Be determined to beat kidney cancer and you will.”
    “Now that you’ve been through this you’re due for some good things to happen.”
    “I’m sure it’s fine/I’m sure it’s nothing.”
  • “Well, you’ve been needing a vacation for a while and now [during chemo] you get to lie around and read books all day. What could be better?”
  • “Well, do they think [the chemo] is going to do any good?”
  • “At least it’s not on your face where everyone could see the scars, besides you don’t really need your breasts anyway.”
  • “A new-agey friend asked me if I had been really angry about anything 7 years before my diagnosis that I had repressed. (What had I done to cause my DCIS?)”
  • “I was advised to write a letter to my husband detailing how much I loved him so he could have something when I died. [My husband]  was standing next to me as I was being given this little chestnut.”
  • “One said to me the day after my malignant melanoma diagnosis: ‘Maybe this will help you evaluate all the things you need to change in your life.’ ”

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