My list of insensitive comments

Bubica joked that I should post this as a thread and I thought “why not?”. I am sure there are lots of worse ones though…

On the subject of insenitive comments. My list since dx

" You could get knocked down by a bus tomorrow" This was during first consultation with Consultant after core biopsy and he had just told me he thought it was cancer and was made by nurse standing in for bc nurse who was on holiday.

" Don’t forget you have a life threatening disease" Consultant when I asked if there was a solution to hot flushes caused by Tamoxifen.

" I told consultant you were a bit of a challenge " BC nurse after I had wept down the phone to her.

" We are really busy and you will just have to wait". After asking for some pain killers in hospital. The info booklet tells you not to wait until pain is really bad but to ask beforehand.

" There’s been a problem and she is still in theatre " nameless member of staff to my husband when he rang after my WLE. The problem actually was that there wasn’t a porter available to bring me back to the ward.

And lastly to someone else I just heard of. Same staff, same ward, again after surgery. Her husband phoned to ask after her and was told " I’m sorry. we have lost her". Husband and son stopped crying just long enough for someone to explain that they meant they couldn’t find her on the computer.

Can anyone beat the last one…Lol


Hi Debbie,

Yes, when I visited Chemo Unit for weigh in for first blood check pre chemo, the BC Nurse said " Haven’t you got gorgeous Long Hair" My hair was 31" to my bum, nice complement otherwise but I just said, “Well, for now anyway!!” Got to know her a bit since and she actually lovely. Also made me laugh when I had SNB the leaflet for exercise afterwards says to comb your hair. After Mastectomy, having soon, after Chemo, will have no hair to “Comb” Just wandered who would think of putting that in there, Luckily I did decide to find the funny side of it but sure quite a few people would find it hard and v insensitive.

Love and Hugs,


On subject of SNB leaflet. Did you notice how ugly the drawings were…Lol.

I bet chemo nurse was so embarrassed. It’s one of those comments you regret the minute they come out of your mouth. How awful for you too. Hope you are well on road to recovery


Hi girls,on the insensitivity issue - I was trying to sleep yesterday (diagnosed last week -mast next Wed and so stressed & tired). My daughter woke me up & asked for a lift to work. Being the dutifull mum I took her. On the way she asked “whats the matter with you”, I said nothing i’m just very tired, she replies Why? you slept last night didn’t you? I just wanted to shout I’VE GOT CANCER, I DON’T KNOW IF I’M GOING TO LIVE OR DIE AND THE NEXT 6 MONTHS OF OPERATIONS & CHEMO & LOSING MY HAIR & I’M DEPRESSED!
However I kept perfectly calm, thinking OK I did tell my family not to mollycoddle me & be straight up about things,but she really got me down.

Sorry to rant, this seems to be the only place i can do it without upsetting anybody. Thanks for listening. off to DR now for some Tranqs
Luv to all Thelma xx

I have a relative who is very senior in the field of oncology. Recently I met a woman who is acquainted with my OH who told us my relative was the Consultant who treated her sister for BC about 15 years ago or more. She then added that her sister died. I know this sounds awful, but believe me I was trying not to laugh, I had to look the other way tbh!

Another came from my sister. I’m finding things very diffficult with her as she works abroad; when she comes over she breezes in as if nothing is going on. Back in early July when I was in hospital with a huge chemo burn and no immune system, she said “oh, aren’t you fat at the moment!” - I was on a massive dose of steroids for the chemo burn, so had the moon face look; I had also just spent about 3 months in bed due to the severe reaction I had to the Taxotere/Herceptin/Tramadol combo.

She came back about a month ago and we had a family wedding reception to attend. My hair is now short and very silver (not grey). She looked at me and said “are you going to this reception with your hair that colour? Your wig would be better”. Wouldn’t mind but I only wore the wig 3 times! Everybody else thinks my hair looks funky and fab, they all say not to colour it.

Picking up on Cherub’s last point, my hair is now just about at the point where I might have had it cut that short rather than it growing back. It too is silver and grey. I have had very positive comments from everyone as to how it suits me. However, one friend said how lucky I was now not to have to colour my hair (I had been doing so for 30+ years) and she’d like to be able to do the same. Did I know the best way she could do that. I told her that I found 6 sessions of chemotherapy worked a treat!!

Sharon x

well, not posted for a while but couldnt resist this thread! Im sure no-one can top my dear auntie who was struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis and mastectomy. She thought I must be feeling really down and depressed but actually i felt okay after mastectomy, I was just glad to have got rid of the cancerous little s***! So, to let me know how she really really understood how terrible it all was she said:-
“well, of course you’ll feel really really awful, youve lost your breast after all, the symbol of being a women - and of course you’re now also an amputee, after all your breast has been amputated”!
I prefer to say it has been “removed”!

Hee hee! Some of yer comments are so funny! Debbie, I couldn’t help but laugh at the poor husband and son although I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time for them.

A friend literally just sent me a text while I was on here…he had asked why I felt scared of finishing rads on Monday (after mast. 6 months of chemo eblah blah). I had said I know it’s silly but I don’t know how to pick up where I left off as this is my new normal and it helps feeling something is blitzing the evil cells…

He has just replied and said “You’re very strange - you’re acting like a prisoner afraid of release and should be happy!”…grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Let’s face it - NOBODY understands except those of us who are living in this parallel world!
Can’t believe some of these…

You have all made me laugh…thanks. Just thought of another from my sister in law who is an area breast feeding adviser and a qualified midwife. I don’t usually tell her anything about my treatment as she is quite dismissive but I told her I was seeing consultant about Tamoxifen side effects, mainly hot flushes. She said " can’t you just take a herbal pill? Can’t
the palliative care team help?“. The usual one I get is " Don’t you look well” after they have scrutinised me from the head down. One acquaintance did this then turned to my mother and said " and how’s Mum? ". I thought my mam was going to smack her. My mother told me not to tell anyone when I was diagnosed as I would get pitying looks and I now fully agree with her and see why. When her mother had terminal breast cancer, a friend stopped my mother and said “nothing like that runs in our family thank goodness”

You have to laugh don’t you???

When I told my mother-in-law she said very dramatically “Oh why does everything always happen to me?”

I was so shocked I never said anything and just reassured her. I’ve not forgotten though…


Reminds me of 2 conversations with my mother-in-law, Sandra. The first was five years ago when I was in hospital having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. I was being really quite upbeat (probably the morphine!) and when she rang to find out how I was, she then gave me a long lecture on how it was obviously much harder on everyone else than it was on me and did I know how worried she’d been. As you say, I’ve never forgotten, even though I just went into supportive mode.

When I was diagnosed with secondary cancer earlier this year, there was a repeat really. Except that her concern was about my father-in-law’s 80th birthday party that we were meant to be having (and indeed did successfully have) at our house 2 weeks after I was due to start chemo. Can’t remember her exact words but it went along the lines of this was such a big disaster for them and you only got one 80th birthday after all. My thoughts at the time were lucky you, both of you will have had an 80th birthday to celebrate in some way at least. My MIL’s 80th is just after Christmas and I am not looking forward to it!

It’s my husband I feel sorry for really who is spending lots of energy being an intermediary now!!

Really love this thread by the way (and the previous one) - some of you have such funny comments to report!

Kay xx

It took me ages to tell my sons. One said very matter of fact well you will be having it of then. Needless to say everything goes on as normal but it would be nice for the boys to ring and ask how I am. It has only been 5 days. Perhaps this is normal for boys.

When I told my 18 year old daughter, last week, that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would have to have a mastectomy but not a reconstruction for at least 2 years, she replied, ‘Oh well, look on the bright side Mum, while they’re doing the reconstruction you could have the other lifted at the same time’!!! I wouldn’t mind but I’m 48 and they don’t droop that much!!
Gill x

Gosh Gill Im 71 and even my droop has a droop. LOL Pat

It’s very true that once you have been through it and got used to 1 boob, acres of fat and no hair, you become philosophical. 1 yr on I now realise I am lucky to be alive and the fact I get very little sleep (hot flushes mostly), and ache all over, at least I can walk, talk, breath unaided and live a fairly normal life. But at the time when it all kicks off, it’s devastating and sensitivity is not a lot to ask from the professionals.


Hi Debbie - Excellent thread.

I called my cousin (male) to tell him of my diagnosis. I took the time to explain my dx to him and the surgery I had just had, what would happen regarding chemo and rads and emphasised that I was ok and very positive (feel obliged some how to do this when telling people). After which, there was a very long pause in the conversation followed by him saying “Oh ok, so how long have you got”? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I just put the phone down. Accompanied by a few choice expletives!!!
Can’t understand why he hasn’t called me back!

Dyzee. X

when i was diagnosed almost 3 yrs ago now at the age of 31, my son had just turned one. I lived in the same town as my husbands parents. Whilst going through all my treatments, you would have thought they had disappeared off the face of the earth perhaps every 2 months I would get a text message to ask how i was !!! Never to offer any help looking after the little one. The ultimate classic quote came at my husbands sisters wedding in July of this year and I was talking to my husbands mother and one of her friends when the topic got on to what I had went through. Quick as a flash my mother in law said " oh you were great going through chemotherapy, no-one would have known you were ill" !!! I wanted to scream, you didnt even see me going through my chemotherapy and yet you lived not even 10 minutes walk from my house. But no I bit my lip and muttered something like it wasnt pleasant, I didnt want to create a scene, but I wished I had just told her exactly what it was like, but then again, it suits her to think that I sailed through it,

I was told by the nurse, after my surgery of mastectomy and recon, that as my hair was too long, it was down my back, that I wouldn’t be able to wash it at the hospital! One of the other patients offered to come to the shower and help me! I eventually did it on my own, with my friends on the ward looking out for me, an 1 of them was 79