Get Well Wishes for Cancer: What to Write in a Card

Updated on June 20, 2016
Blake Flannery profile image

Blake started out scribbling in cards over 30 years ago. Though his handwriting is mostly unchanged, the content has improved.

The word cancer elicits emotion from most people. Most people know someone who has been touched by cancer in some way. Writing an encouraging message to someone affected by cancer is sometimes difficult, however, due to the seriousness of the situation.

Cancer get well wishes don't have to be serious. Humor can be used carefully and with tact. Humor is a coping skill that can help heal the mind and the body. Whether you decide to go with a serious message or a humorous escape, the examples below will help give you options and ideas.

Encouraging Messages

  • I'm wishing for you to have a smile on your face because you have put a smile on my face so many times in the past.
  • I like to think that the word "can" is part of the word cancer so that people will focus on what they can do instead of what they can't.
  • Don't let cancer take anything from you that you don't want it to.
  • I know you are stronger than cancer. I'm looking forward to you kicking cancer's butt.
  • My hope for you is that you'll be as well as you can possibly be.
  • You are a source of inspiration to me even as you face this challenge.
  • I am praying for you. Please let me know if you have any specific prayer requests, so I can pray for what you need.
  • You'll always be my friend. You have at least one ally in your fight with cancer.

  • You will always be my friend no matter how well or ill you are.
  • I'm praying that cancer will no longer be able to harm your body, mind, or spirit.
  • Does cancer know who it's messing with? I don't think it stands a chance against you.
  • The only thing I know more stubborn than cancer is you. It's one of your best qualities, and it's your secret weapon.
  • You are loved. Don't ever forget that. You do not have to go through anything alone.
  • I am praying for you in many ways. I am praying for healing, peace, comfort, and encouragement.
  • I am sorry you have to go through this. You are showing me how strong you are, and you're doing a great job.

Funny Messages

Obviously, it's important to use caution when writing anything funny in a get well card. Jokes like these may, however, provide a non-offensive laugh.

  • If cancer had a butt, I'd tell you to kick it!
  • People may give you advice. Some may be good, some may be bad. It's your choice whether to take it. Do what you think is right. Oops! I just gave you advice.
  • If I was cancer, I'd be scared messing with you.
  • I hope you know that just because you have cancer doesn't mean I'm going to treat you any differently. I'll still be giving you a hard time.
  • Laughter is good for the immune system. Maybe that's why there's nothing funny about cancer. Keep laughing anyway.
  • No one can make you do anything. Remember to tell cancer that next time it wants to control you.

What Not to Write to a Person With Cancer

• Other people's experiences with cancer.

• Medical advice.

• A guess as to how or why the person became ill with cancer.

• References or predictions about death.

There are definitely some things that you should avoid writing in a card to someone who has cancer. Here are some examples:

  • Mentioning people you know who have had cancer. Everyone has different experiences. Writing about someone else's could feel offensive. Just be the supportive friend you are and listen. The focus should be on the experiences of the person to whom you are writing the card.
  • Never mention medical advice in a get well card, even if you are a cancer specialist. A get well card is not the place to write treatment recommendations. If the person asks for your opinion, then that would be a great time to share your thoughts.
  • Don't try to guess why the person has cancer. Maybe the person lives next to a chemical waste dump. Maybe the person smokes two packs a day. Maybe the person goes to the tanning booth way too often. The purpose of the get well card is not to pass judgment or assign blame.
  • Never reference death. The person with cancer may feel the fear of the unknown. Even predicting that cancer will not kill the person is drawing attention to the possibility. Focus instead on life, what the person can do, and what the person has.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Marian 

        5 months ago

        I am stage 4 cancer and make no bones about it. I don't want people skirting around me and watching what they say. I like things that are humorous. Just keep being my friend and stay with me.

      • profile image

        Gwen 

        17 months ago

        So many people told me about friends or relative that had died from cancer when I was going through treatment. That wasn't very encouraging.

      • profile image

        Karynne 

        18 months ago

        I work in a large oncology office, and these all make perfect sense. Please follow through with the promise to be someone's ally, being their friend. I see it all the time, the patient has an entire entourage for the first couple treatments, but as the disease drags on, people fade away. Take turns so you don't burn out. But don't make empty promises. Thank you for this list.

      • Blake Flannery profile imageAUTHOR

        Blake Flannery 

        19 months ago from United States

        Good point. You don't need to use the word cancer to be encouraging, but I wouldn't avoid the word for the sake of avoiding it. It could make your message come across as vague or weak.

        Sometimes, in the interest of being clear, it's a good idea to use direct language. People who have cancer are just like people without cancer. They likely have other difficulties going on at the same time. So if you write about the diffult time they are having, they might wonder which difficulty you are referring to.

        There are many ways to comfort and encourage someone. Make them food, give them a hug, pray for them, give them flowers or another gift, or just listen. None of these strategies have to include any specific words, but words are one useful way to express oneself. It's how you put them together that matters most.

      • profile image

        Jo 

        19 months ago

        Why do you need to use the word Cancer in your message. Most people just want to get better and move on and not be reminded they had this. We should be sending a positive uplifting message.

        You should treat them like they didn't have this happen in their life. It does not make them who they are. They are still the person they were before. They are just going through a very difficult time and dealing with a lot. They know they have cancer and don't need to be reminded of that. They want to be treated like you would treat them if they weren't going through this. Thank you for listening.

      • profile image

        Chantal 

        21 months ago

        Great ideas. It really help me to write a more sensitive message.

      • profile image

        Seren 

        22 months ago

        Thank you very much.

      • gerimcclym profile image

        Geri McClymont 

        2 years ago

        I really appreciate your suggestions for writing encouraging messages to people we know who are fighting cancer. Very helpful and thank you.

      • profile image

        DRS 

        3 years ago

        As a cancer survivor I can tell you that #10 is my favorite.

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