Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Crazy, Sexy' Ideas: What NOT to Say to a Cancer Patient

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Crazy, Sexy' Ideas: What NOT to Say to a Cancer Patient

Article excerpt


Cancer. When a family member, friend or colleague gets it, it makes us uncomfortable, too. What do you say? How do you avoid the dreaded cancer faux pas?

"People get pretty threatened when you go outside the norm, and mortality is threatening," said Kris Carr, the surviving, thriving, "crazy sexy cancer chick" who is the 2008 EVE Awards keynote speaker. "When we're threatened, we make asses of ourselves - graciousness knocks and nobody's home."

She and her posse have shared with one another what not to say - such as asking someone how long they have to live.

"That's when Miss Manners has to give you a swat with a ruler," Carr said. "I don't know, how long do you have?"

Here are more cancer faux pas to avoid, courtesy of the members of Carr's Internet forum at

Dee: "I get asked the 'Oh my gosh, you look so skinny and fabulous, What is your secret?' comment all the time. I always respond with 'Aw, thank you, chemotherapy. It's amazing.' That usually shuts them up pretty fast.

"I've been told I'm 'cool for a sick chick' . . . I've had people say 'Oh really? I know someone who just died from that.' Other things like 'such a shame, you're so pretty' or 'you're so brave,' or 'you poor thing' or my personal favorite, 'Maybe you can find Jesus and he will save you.' Oh, and my favorite: 'You have cancer? But I thought your family was, like, uber wealthy.'"

Rhonda: "A comment special for me because I am a 300-pound sexy canser chick, 'So, you gonna lose weight now that you have cancer?' I guess that's the party bonus, right?"

Jilly: "When I finished chemo and radiation, everyone kept telling me how 'lucky' I was because I didn't lose my hair . . . keep in mind I lost my uterus, but the hair is what is important, right?"

Tara: " 'At least you don't have Alzheimer's. That would be really bad.' Said to me by my grandmother."

Erin: "Someone at work let me know that we now had something in common because we were both going through 'something.' She was attending her Alcoholic's Anonymous meetings at the same hospital where I'd been admitted and was receiving chemo. …

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