There's two versions of self back to back - the left side has a red, negative speech bubble coming from her mouth, while the right side has a green one that's more positive

Community Shares: The Language of Cancer Matters

Our words matter more than we realize and what we say to ourselves matters especially. How we word a situation determines if we feel hopeful or hopeless. Feel love or fear. Strong or defeated.

When it comes to cancer, how you talk about your experience with cancer may affect how you cope. Of course, the language you use may change over time.

To learn more, we reached out on the AdvancedBreastCancer.net Facebook page and asked: “What is the best way to describe advanced breast cancer: a journey, an experience, a season, a chapter or something else?”

Your answers varied greatly. Here is what you had to say.

“I call it BS.”

This question led some of you to respond with some heated words. As you should! If anger is what you feel, feel it. You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to yell, swear, or do whatever you need to do to work through your anger. Dealing with metastatic breast cancer looks different for everyone, but most likely, anger played a role in coming to terms with it.

“Living NIGHTMARE!”

“I call it BS.”

“I can say some bad words about it!”

“A thief.”

There is no question that metastatic breast cancer steals the life you knew. So much has or will change. For everyone, change is hard—and this type of change can be especially challenging. And yet some of you have been able to pick yourselves up and rebuild and enjoy the days every chance you get.

“It is a thief that steals all that is familiar to you, and you have to learn to rebuild life with what you have been given, and make the most of it.”

Metastatic breast cancer is a thief that steals hopes and dreams and life.”

“A thief that steals your independence.”

“An adventure.”

A few of you described life with metastatic breast cancer as having highs and lows, which only makes sense. Life for anyone swings between highs and lows. It can be hard, but seeing and appreciating what is good in your life can often lead to good feelings.

“An adventure. And with all adventures, sometimes it is not so bad, and sometimes it is great (like meeting good friends), and sometimes it totally sucks.”

“A dance filled with difficult lows and joyous highs.”

“It is a wake-up call.”

Facing a life-changing diagnosis is likely to change your outlook on everything. For everyone, life is precious, but it becomes especially so when living with cancer. Several of you shared that this has been a wake-up call that has led you to make big changes. It can be tough that it took something big to lead to doing things differently, but making positive changes—that lead you to feel good and fulfilled is always an incredible achievement.

“It is a wake-up call that makes me thankful for a full recovery.”

“A wake-up call and a new beginning. I find that it has changed my life. It made me realize that I must slow down and do for myself and not everyone else. I have been living to take care of others. I have learned that most people, even my hubby, think I am always in other people’s lives and not where I should be. I am highly misunderstood.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared on this topic. We appreciate your honesty, and that your answers help others in the community identify and help them on their path with metastatic breast cancer.

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Community Poll

What is the best way to describe metastatic breast cancer?

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