Inspirational Quotes for People with Cancer

Thoughts for Each Stage of the Cancer Journey

Quotes can inspire people in many ways, especially when faced with a frightening diagnosis of cancer. Yet we know that people are at many different stages of their journeys. We've chosen some of our favorite quotes for many of these turning points and challenges, such as when you are first diagnosed, while you are going through treatment, and the stigma you may face due to your cancer, along with those for loved ones who are grieving. We hope they bring you strength, courage, hope, and few smiles along the way.


When You are Newly Diagnosed


It can be terrifying when you are first diagnosed. It doesn't matter if you have an early stage very curable cancer, or an advanced metastatic cancer, studies tell us that the initial shock and plunge on the roller coaster is the same.

 If you have just heard the "C" word, there are a few positive thoughts to think about (without bringing false hope). It may help to realize that the number of cancer survivors in the United States and worldwide is growing, and that many of these people live fruitful, rewarding, and joyful lives following treatment. It may be help to realize that the treatments for, and survival rates from, even aggressive cancers like lung cancer are improving. It may help to hear that not only are treatments improving, but we are finding treatments with fewer side effects, or at least, better treatments to manage side effects.

Yet, these platitudes aren't meant to dismiss your negative emotions that need to be expressed. We don't have any studies that "keeping a positive attitude" improves survival, but we have studies that show holding in negative emotions isn't good.

"Cancer is a word, not a sentence." - John Diamond


During Treatment

National Cancer Institute, Rhoda Baer (photographer)

 We often hurry to finish the treatment phase of cancer (with early stage cancers anyway), essentially putting life on hold until treatment is finished. But even during the worst of these days you may find meaning and joy, and many people look back fondly on these days of treatment, even with the side effects.

As a positive note on this last quotes, studies have actually shown us that the stress of cancer (posttraumatic stress) actually brings about positive changes in those living with cancer. In other words, cancer changes people in good ways!

"Look to this day for it is life. For yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope." - Sanskrit Proverb

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway."- Emory Austin

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Quotes if You Have Surgery

National Cancer Institute, John Crawford (photographer)

"For every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story.  A story that says, "I Survived!"  - Craig Scott"

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." - Barbara Bloom


Living with Cancer

National Cancer Institute, Bill Branson (photographer)

"Remember.  You're not dying from cancer...  You're living with it!" - Unknown source

"More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the ever increasing possibility of living beyond cancer." - Sheryl Crow


Quotes for Loved Ones of Cancer Patients

National Cancer Institute, Bill Branson (photographer)

Nobody experiences cancer in a vacuum, and it's important to not only acknowledge the support from loved ones, but their pain as well. Not only do cancer caregivers experience their own array of emotions and challenges, but can struggle with ill health as a result. If this is you, take a moment to think about how you can care for yourself as a caregiver.

"When one person gets cancer, the whole family gets cancer." - Shirley Corder


Quotes for Those Who Smoked

7980296206_5ec0a3f2b5_b.jpg HKD/Creative Commons

Guilt can plague some people with cancer, and the "I wishes" and "I should haves" can be draining. The stigma of some cancers only adds to this guilt. If you are coping with some of this, such as lung cancer smoker's guilt you aren't alone. But true healing means to let that guilt go. Nobody deserves cancer. Period. And we can't change the past. But we can go forward without a heart weighed down by the burden of thing we can't change. Fighting cancer takes energy. Don't let things you can't change from the past drain your energy today.

"Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard


Quotes When Faced With the Stigma of Lung Cancer


We touched on the stigma earlier, but it's not only lung cancer that carries a stigma. It seems there is a tendency in the public to want to put labels on people. "This" is why they got cancer. In fact, it's a defense mechanism. None of us want to admit the truth. That anyone of any age and with any lifestyle may get cancer. But we can. Our response to Kathryn Joosten would be, "anyone with lungs can get lung cancer."

 "I am the only 'celebrity' to be public about my lung cancer." - Kathryn Joosten


Religious Quotes


"Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death." - Unknown source

"And I am sure of this, that he would began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:16


Quotes for When Treatment Fails


 "To live in the hearts of those we love is to never die." - Thomas Campbell


Quotes for Those Who Grieve


"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." - Rabindranath Tagore

"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon at the end of the ocean." - David Searle

There is Always Hope

No matter where you are in your journey, or what your prognosis, there is always hope. It may be hope for a new treatment, or for a clinical trial. It may be hope that you are able to get pregnant after treatment. Or it may be hope for a good death at home, and hope for joyful lives for those you leave behind.

"Hope is the thing with feathers--

That perches in the soul--

And sings the tune without words--

And never stops--at all..." - Emily Dickinson

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