Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:

Healthy Living

By Sheryl Kraft

Share on:

You're not alone if you get all tongue-tied and nervous when you try to talk to—or comfort—someone with an illness like cancer (or any other serious illness). I mean, I had cancer and I still have a hard time knowing what to say when it's someone else. When I was the patient, so many people either never said anything, afraid of saying the wrong thing, or ended up with their foot in their mouth. Like another mother from my son's preschool class who said absolutely nothing; instead she rapidly turned her grocery cart in the opposite direction and ran when she spotted me coming down the same aisle in the supermarket.

Or the woman who came to visit me after I had my mastectomy, looked quizzically at me and asked, "Why are you walking all lopsided?" Truly.

I'm not bitter, I'm really not. I realize it is a tough situation, and sometimes a no-win situation at that. That's why I reached out to Kelly Connors from Real Women on Health and proposed we tackle this tough topic. We got together with Lori Hope, author and speaker and another cancer survivor. Lori has written the wonderfully informative book, "Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know".

In case you missed it, here's another chance to download the show, or listen to it now in the player below. I promise you'll come away with something new.

It helps to know what to say—not just to the other person you're saying it to, but to you, too.