When someone is diagnosed with cancer it is both devastating and terrifying. Your whole world is thrown into disarray.

Nothing can be done to prepare for the shock it causes.

So when someone you know is given that terrible news your first reaction is probably to reach out and tell them how sorry you are. To offer your sympathy for what is such a worrying diagnosis.

But at the same time you want to be encouraging and give them support and hope. You aren’t going to want to add to their understandable fear with any negativity or doubt.

Knowing what to say is easier said than done, though.

How you talk to and what you say to those facing such a serious illness isn’t simple. It requires understanding, thoughtfulness and tact.

So if you’re struggling with finding the right words to say to someone after a cancer diagnosis or what is and isn’t appropriate this guide is for you.

We will look at what you should and shouldn’t say, why and then provide some example messages you can include in a card, with a gift or say in person.

What to Say to Someone After a Cancer Diagnosis

The time just after a cancer diagnosis is one of the worst. This is when those diagnosed will need the support and love of friends the most.

So what you say to them or write in a message should reflect that. Be sure to make it clear how you will be there for them and that they can rely on you. Perhaps offer specific examples of what you can do.

However, don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. The last thing someone wants when facing such uncertain times is to be let down by those closest to them.

Try these example sympathy messages for a card, with a flowers or a gift or just to say to in person.

  • No matter how long it takes I will be by your side every step of the way.
  • You are one of the strongest people I’ve ever met and I know you can fight this.
  • I’m thinking only of you right now. You are in my prayers and I’m sending such positive thoughts your way.
  • If there is anything you need then don’t hesitate to ask. Whatever it is I can and will be there for you.
  • Together we will get through this. You won’t be alone.
  • This doesn’t define you. Whatever happens you are still the same person you always were and the amazing friend you always will be. Don’t forget that.
  • I want to do all I can to help. Whatever you go through I will be with you.
  • Let your friends and family be there to support you. Their strength and love will see you through this.

If you want to some more ideas for encouraging words when someone is unwell then try our selection of sympathy get well wishes.

cancer sympathy message

What to Say During Treatment

Treatment brings with it extra challenges. Whilst it is hopefully the road to recovery it can have serious side affects that incapacitates those going through it.

In your message you should try to remain positive and do all you can to inspire them. Talk about how strong and brave they are, focusing on each step as they get through the treatment and head towards getting better.

You may also want to offer support and help whilst they are recovering from the treatment. Maybe getting their grocery shopping for them, collecting the kids up from school etc. Whatever small thing you can do will be a big help.

These are just a few ideas of what to say in a sympathy message for someone going through cancer treatment:

  • The way you are handling this is an inspiration to us all. That strength and determination is what will get you through it.
  • As each day passed you are that little bit closer to getting back to full health.
  • We are so proud of how well you are coping.
  • With your strength and courage cancer has no chance!
  • You are as brave as you are inspiring.
  • We are all behind you every step of the way.
  • I am thinking positive thoughts and pulling for you every day. I just know you’re going to be ok.
  • I can’t begin to understand how hard this must be but I’m sending you love and positivity.

positive cancer sympathy message

What to Say When in Remission

Remission is usually a cause for celebration so your message should be upbeat and hopeful.

However keep in mind that for some remission isn’t as clear cut as others. It may be a case of thinking the cancer has gone and been beaten rather than definitely knowing.

If so then you may want to change the tone of your message slightly. The examples below cover both types.

  • I am just so happy for you!
  • Best. News. Ever.
  • I couldn’t be more delighted for you and your whole family.
  • Cancer never had a chance against you!
  • This news had bright tears to my eyes. I am just so pleased for you.
  • You’ve had to endure so much pain and fight so hard but this is your reward.
  • With your unfailing strength and courage it’s no surprise cancer couldn’t beat you.
  • You deserve to enjoy every second of this moment.

 

What to Say When it’s Terminal

Knowing what to say or put in a message in these circumstances is by far and away the hardest.

You should still try to remain positive and cheerful, even if this isn’t how you truly feel.

  • You have always brought such sunshine to my life.
  • We are all so proud of you.
  • You will be in our thoughts and prayers
  • There is no one in the world quite like you.
  • I feel blessed to have you as my friend.
  • I just wrote this little note to let you know I’m always thinking of you.
  • You bring a smile to my face and logo to my life. I love you so much.
  • You epitomise all that’s good in this world. I am so thankful you’re my friend.

Cancer Sympathy Messages

These are a few more examples for what you can write in a cancer sympathy message.

  • I can’t imagine how tough this is for you but I wanted to reach out and let you know I’m here if you need anything. You are so brave and inspiring. You make us all so proud.
  • I wanted to send this message to say how well you’re doing. It must be incredibly hard but you are facing it with such positivity and courage. I’ll be by your side all the way.
  • I hope you can stay positive and think that with every day that passes you are that little bit closer to finishing your treatment. Your strength has been amazing and proven what a truly remarkable person you are. I will forever be inspired by you.
  • I am sending positive thoughts your way all the time! You are in my prayers as you face this horrible battle. But I know how strong you are and with the support of friends and family you’ll get through this.
  • You will fight this with as much resolve and courage as we’ve come to expect from you. And I feel confident that you can overcome anything. All my love.
  • I am praying for you to make a full recovery. Your positive attitude and bravery as so inspiring. We are all in awe of you.
  • Don’t worry about anything other than yourself right now. Focus all your energy on this fight and we’ll be there to pick up any of slack. You can do it!
  • Don’t ever think about giving up. You can beat this and with our help we’re going to get through whatever it throws at you. You won’t be alone, I promise.

Cancer Get Well Wishes

If you want to say get well to someone going through cancer then these wishes and messages would work well in a card.

  • Sending all my best wishes for you to feel better soon. The chemotherapy is almost over and then you’re on the home stretch. Just hang in there a little longer!
  • It doesn’t matter how long it takes I’m going to support you every second of every day. We will get through this together and I know you’ll be back to full health in the near future.
  • These words won’t make much of a difference I know but I will always be there for you. I’m wishing for better days ahead.
  • I am praying and hoping for good news and you to be feeling like your old self again soon. You don’t deserve this and it’s so unfair.
  • I love you more than can say. You are my best friend and it’s awful to know you’re having to go through this. But I also know what a fighter you are and that if anyone is going to beat this it will be you.
  • All my thoughts are for you and your recovery. I wish for it to be as quick and painless as possible. I just know you will be out taking on the world again in no time.
  • You can be guaranteed of my support through this journey. I am going to do all I can to help you get well and beat this nasty cancer.
  • Wishing you all the love I can to get well as soon as possible! You are brave and courageous and you WILL conquer this.

Conclusion

A cancer diagnosis is a frightening and uncertain time. So the support and love of friends and family is absolutely vital.

So sending a message of hope and encouragement is a kind gesture, one you should make the effort to do.

Hopefully the example messages and words you’ve found here will have helped you to reach out to someone you know facing cancer. And you can be safe in the knowledge that whoever is the recipient will greatly appreciate knowing they’re loved ones are thinking of them.

sympathy messages for a cancer diagnosis

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