The Women's Journal

Cancer Survivors’ Panel Insights

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Written by Kathleen Wood, Community Partnership Manager & 2-time cancer survivor caregiver

Cancer is a tough and long journey. To help decipher what you or a loved one may be going through now, Delaware Palliative compiled answers from three cancer survivors to five of the most impactful questions for someone not traveling the cancer journey: K.K. – female, multiple myeloma, 11 years in remission. K.W. – male, germ cell tumor, 4.5 years in remission. E.N. – female, breast cancer, 11 years in remission.

 “What should we call people who are fighting cancer?”

 K.K. – “Call me by my name! Cancer may describe me, but it doesn’t define me.”

 K.W. – “Call people by whatever they feel defines them in their journey . . .”

 “Why do words matter to someone who is facing cancer?”

 K.K. – “I wanted everybody around me to be my cheerleader, and not my reminder of me not feeling well.” 

E.N. – “The words that bothered me were, Wow you look really good! What did I look like before? I know they meant well, but those were hard words to hear.” 

 “What do you wish you had known about this journey before you were diagnosed?”

 K.K. – “Having to sign all the papers was a sensational, overwhelming activity…There are certain things that people just cannot help you decide, and it can be very, very overwhelming.”

 E.N. – “. . . It’s not the flu, and actually once treatment is over, that’s when we start really dealing with the emotional impact, and so it’s just the beginning . . . follow-ups, treatments. After 11 years, I still get nervous every six months when I go for my bloodwork.”

“What are some resources you’ve found that others may find helpful?”

 K.K. – “There are a lot of resources, and at the same time, it can feel like you don’t have the resources that you need. and For Pete’s Sake are two that were the most helpful to me.” 

 K.W. – “I recommend just Googling and compiling a list of possible resources like maid services, grocery pickup, in-home healthcare options like Delaware Palliative.” 

 E.N. – “The most helpful thing for me was other patients. Getting tips and tricks, and they don’t all work for you, but at least it gives you something to try.”

“How can friends and family help people in their lives who are fighting cancer?”

 K.K. – “Don’t just ask, just do it. The other thing is, most cancers are not done in a month. When the diagnosis comes, you get flooded with people providing support but in the later months, that’s when I really needed something, but I felt bad for asking.”

 K.W. – “No matter what you want to offer, it’s appreciated, not just by the person who’s going through it, but by their caregivers too.”

 E.N. – “Do something that makes them feel normal. A friend took me shopping when I couldn’t do it on my own and it was the greatest gift.” 

For more resources, please visit for a complete list of blogs and educational materials.


“On behalf of my mom MC, thank you all so much for giving us the tools to allow us to take care of mom at home. And thank you for remaining calm when we were not, for taking a million calls and providing support.”