What to Write in a Card for Someone with Cancer
When we get news that someone we care about has been diagnosed with cancer, or that their cancer has returned, or spread to other parts of the body, it can be devastating. We want to help them, show them that we care about them, and that we love them. But how to do that in a card? What can we write in a card for someone with cancer that will help them with their struggle?
It’s a complicated question that changes depending on our relationship with them, as well as the stage they’re in. There are a few things to consider when you want to write to someone who has cancer, so along with examples of messages you can write in your cards, we’ll also consider this from different points of view depending on where your loved one is in terms of their cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment, Remission, End of Life.
In order to help people who have just been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to think about the whole process that they’ll be going through. You want to be careful not to overstate or overpromise things you can’t control, because that can come across as inauthentic. With that in mind, it’s often a good idea to keep your message general.
So when they first get the news they have been diagnosed with cancer, let them know you’re there for them. This is a life-altering and shocking event. Knowing they have friends and support can mean everything to them.
Here are some examples of what to write in card if someone you care about has just been diagnosed with cancer:
- I’m here for you.
- I’m thinking of you.
- You’re on my mind and in my heart.
- Don’t hesitate to call on me.
- I want to help.
- You are not alone.
- I’m here with you every step of the way.
- You can call on me anytime, for anything.
- You are still the same amazing person you’ve always been.
As they’re going through treatment, reminding them that you’re part of their support system is also very helpful. Comment on their strength; remind them of a time in their life when they showed great courage; tell them why you admire them and how they’ve overcome other challenges. Find ways to inspire them; to help them see the bigger picture as they go through the everyday/every-moment struggle that is treatment. Each step along the way can feel like a big one, so it’s nice to know they have a helping hand.
Here are some examples of what to write in a card if someone is going through cancer treatment:
- Every day you are getting closer.
- Your strength inspires me.
- I’m rooting for you.
- So proud of you.
- You are a light to others.
- You are a rock star.
- You are my hero.
- I know you are stronger than anything.
- This diagnosis does not know what it’s up against.
Remission can come in different shapes and sizes. For some it’s, “Yes, we’ve beaten this!” If that’s the case, here are some messages you can write:
- Greatest news ever.
- So happy for you and your family.
- I’m crying, I’m so happy.
- You worked so hard. And I am so happy.
- My favorite day ever.
- You will inspire so many.
- Cancer is no match for you.
- You are more amazing than ever.
For others, being in remission can be more along the lines of “We think we’ve beaten this,” so we have to be a little more careful with our statements. For example:
- You’ve worked so hard for this moment.
- Take a deep breath and enjoy this moment.
- I’m so happy for you.
- You are an inspiration.
- Nothing compares to you.
- You continually amaze and inspire me.
And for some people, being in remission can be more along the “this is temporary” lines. Be aware of the circumstances and address them accordingly. At this point, keeping things in the now is important because you can’t know what’s truly going to happen in the future. Here are messages you can write:
- Today is a good day.
- Here you are now: so strong, so amazing, so beautiful.
- Now (Today) is the day I’ve been praying for.
- I’m so glad for you. For today. For this amazing news.
- Your news just made my day!
- Your strength brought you here.
End of Life
This is the most difficult time, but your words can still have a positive and uplifting impact. It’s important to keep things feeling in the now: be cheerful and bring sunshine to their day. Remember they can be very tired so less might be more. In some small personal way let them know you are thinking of them — mention the weather, something that reminded you of them, or something about the family, etc. Consider messages like these:
- I was just thinking of you and how much you like (…)
- Everyone is thinking of you.
- We are so proud of you.
- I saw the sun today and it made me think of how you light up a room.
- I saw the most beautiful flower today and it reminded me of you.
- Your beautiful smile always brings so much joy.
- You are one of my favorite people.
- Just wanted to write and say “hi,” and that I’m thinking about you and how much I admire you.
These messages are never easy to write. But they will make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling with cancer. Taking your time to let someone know you are thinking about them, that you care about them, and that you want the best for them is always worth it and always meaningful.
Greg Vovos has been writing at AG for ten years. In 2014 he lost his mother to acute myeloid leukemia. He was grateful for all the wishes he received when she passed and knows his mother appreciated every kind word she received during her illness.