What not to say to someone with breast cancer

  • 04/02/2018

Cringe-worthy comments made to people diagnosed with breast cancer are being highlighted in a video released on World Cancer Day.

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ has released a video featuring comedians Urzila Carlson and Jackie Clarke acting out an awkward conversation between a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient and her friend.

"Women have been told they caused their own cancer by drinking from plastic bottles or carrying a cellphone near their breast; that they're lucky to be able to get a tummy tuck and a free 'boob job'; and that they can cure the cancer with turmeric," says Evangelia Henderson, chief executive at Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

The video is based on feedback from real patients and after demonstrating what not to say gives advice on how to be more helpful.

Mrs Henderson urges everyone to think before they speak, and avoid making a stressful situation worse.

More than 3300 women and about 25 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand each year, and more than 600 die.