Talking cancer

What do you say to someone who has cancer? That was one of the questions a caller asked earlier this week when MPR’s Midmorning talked with Leroy Sievers, a journalist who has been writing about his battle with cancer on an NPR blog.

Yesterday, Sievers wrote about the question on his blog:


Cancer patients know how difficult it is to talk about our disease. It’s hard for us. I have broken down into tears any number of times recently.

But what’s more important, more important than the words you might say, is the effort to simply say anything. And if that “anything” isn’t about cancer, that’s even better.

The best conversations I have these days are about something, anything else. Politics, sports, books, whatever.

If cancer is not in the room for even an hour or two, that’s a gift.

The difficulty, of course, is sometimes “How ’bout those Twins?” sounds a lot like “this is me not talking about cancer.” The comments section of the blog post provided a good example: a mix of highly sensitive thoughts mixed in with questions about politics and the Red Sox.