What to Write to Someone Whose Family Member Has Cancer: Heartfelt Messages and Support

Cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly one of the most overwhelming experiences for both patients and their loved ones. If someone you know is going through cancer, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to offer support. By using the appropriate words, you can make a positive difference in their journey. In this article, we will discuss some heartfelt messages that can help you connect with your loved ones and support them in their time of need.

Empathize with them

The first and foremost thing you need to do is to empathize with the person. Let them know that you understand what they are going through, and you are there for them. Acknowledge their feelings and the severity of their situation. Avoid being overly positive or dismissive of their emotions. Doing so can make them feel invalidated instead of supported.

Some examples of empathetic messages are:

  • “I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you.”
  • “My heart goes out to you.”
  • “I am here for you.”

Offer practical support

As a loved one, you can ease their burden by offering practical support. Cancer treatment and recovery can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so every little help can make a significant difference. Depending on your relationship and availability, you can offer to help with cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, or driving them to appointments.

Some examples of practical support messages are:

  • “I can pick up your kids from school on my way back from work.”
  • “Let me know if you need any help with groceries or meals.”
  • “I will come over and help with the cleaning.”

Remind them of their strength

A cancer diagnosis can make it difficult for the person to see beyond their illness. It can make them feel helpless and vulnerable, with their self-esteem and confidence taking a hit. As a loved one, you can remind them of their strength and positivity. Reinforcing their strengths and encouraging them to stay positive can go a long way in their journey.

Some examples of strength-reminding messages are:

  • “You have shown such bravery in dealing with this illness.”
  • “I am convinced that you have the strength to overcome this.”
  • “Your positivity is truly inspiring.”

Show your love and care

One of the significant effects of cancer is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Knowing that they are not alone in their journey can provide immeasurable comfort to the person. As a loved one, you can show them how much you care and love them. Demonstrate your love and care through your words and actions.

Some examples of love and care messages are:

  • “You are not alone. I am with you every step of the way.”
  • “I love you more than ever, and I’m rooting for you.”
  • “I am proud of you and the strength you’ve shown in this journey.”

Listen with an open mind

Cancer can be a roller coaster ride of emotions. They might want to vent, express their fears or frustrations or be completely silent. One of the best things you can do is listen with an open mind. Let them express their thoughts and feelings, without judging or offering unsolicited advice. Show them that you are there for them and ready to hold space for them.

Some examples of listening messages are:

  • “I am here to listen whenever you need someone to vent to.”
  • “I am here to support you and listen without judgment.”
  • “You don’t have to face this alone. I am here for you whenever you need me.”

Offer hope and encouragement

A cancer diagnosis can be a challenging journey, but it is not a death sentence. There is always hope for recovery, and your loved one needs to hear that from you. Encourage them to keep fighting and not lose hope. Let them know that their journey is an inspiration to many and that you believe in their ability to overcome the illness.

Some examples of hope and encouragement messages are:

  • “Keep fighting; we will beat this together.”
  • “Your journey is an inspiration to so many people. Never forget that.”
  • “I am confident that you will get through this and come out even stronger.”


When someone you know is going through cancer, it can be challenging to know what to say or how to offer support. By using the right words and actions, you can make a positive difference in their journey. Empathize with them, offer practical support, remind them of their strength, show your love and care, listen with an open mind, and offer hope and encouragement. Your kind words and gestures can make all the difference in helping them through this difficult time.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: What should I say in a get-well card for someone with cancer?
  • A: In a get-well card for someone with cancer, you can focus on expressing your love and support. You can remind them of their strength and positivity, let them know that you are with them every step of the way, and offer practical support.

  • Q: What should I not say to someone with cancer?
  • A: You should avoid being overly positive, dismissive of their emotions, or suggesting that they brought this on themselves. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or making any false promises. Instead, listen to them and offer support according to their needs.

  • Q: How can I show my support from afar?
  • A: If you cannot be physically present, you can still show your support by calling them regularly, sending care packages, cards, or gifts, or setting up a video chat session. You can also use social media to stay connected and send messages of support.

  • Q: What can I do to support the whole family during this stressful time?
  • A: You can offer to help with tasks like cooking, cleaning, shopping, or driving. You can spend time with the family members and offer emotional support through listening, talking, and spending quality time together. You can also help by researching treatment options or support groups and guiding them through the process.


  • Morris, N. (2018). The language of cancer: what to say (and avoid) to someone facing a cancer diagnosis. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cancer-language-what-to-say#3
  • American Cancer Society (n.d.). What to say to a cancer patient or caregiver. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/talking-about-cancer/what-to-say-to-a-cancer-patient.html
  • Cancer.net (2019). Talking with someone who has cancer. https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/talking-with-family-and-friends/talking-with-someone-who-has-cancer

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