Dear Cancer

Each year we ask the AYA cancer community to submit letters to cancer to express their feelings about how cancer has changed their lives. People explore an array of emotions in these letters, including anger, sadness, gratitude, and hope.

Want to submit an article or write your own letter to cancer? Click Here.

Dear Cancer, What Should I Say to You?

by April Kemen June 20, 2022

Dear Cancer,

What should I say to you?

Maybe I will start by complaining to you about all the tests, scans, appointments, needle pokes, surgeries, and medications I have endured because of you.


Dear Cancer, You Need to Behave

by Cody Morrison June 16, 2022


Let’s sit down and have a talk.

I am just going to come out and say it: you need to behave. I know you and I are going to be stuck with each other for the rest of my life, but can you at least make things a bit easier?


Dear Cancer, You are the Great Paradox

by Emma Vivian June 15, 2022

Dear Cancer,

You have changed me in more ways than I can count.

First, there was the big change, the news of your existence falling from the sky, scorching the earth of my body, and breaking apart my safe little world. When you arrived, you changed so much.


Dear Cancer, I am Still the Author of my Own Story

by Rachel Mihalko

I am learning that while I may not be in control, I am still the author of my own story

You, cancer, are lurking in the shadows,
Waiting for a moment to appear again
in the tender skin on my clavicle.


Dear Cancer, I Would Not Wish You on Anyone

by Liz Hiles

Dear Bladder Cancer,

I have so many mixed feelings about you. I didn’t even know bladder cancer was a thing until the moment I was diagnosed with it. I am angry that you are so common, but no one is talking about you.


Dear Cancer, I Never Agreed to be With You

by Norma Marquez June 8, 2022

Dear Cancer,

May 1, 2022, will be our four-year anniversary. From day one, this “relationship” has only been one sided. I never agreed to be with you and for this to be a “‘till death do us part” commitment. I don’t even know how we became an “item.”


Dear Cancer, You Were Never Fully in Charge

by Iram Leon

Dear Cancer,

You are already a power hog, a bully, so I try to ignore you believing that negative behavior is just desperate for attention. Perhaps if I don’t give it to you, you will go away.


Dear Cancer, Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

by Dan Godley June 6, 2022

Dear Cancer,

In November 2021, I was diagnosed with you after five weeks of hospital appointments, scans, and blood tests. I was 28 years old. I am 29 years old now and eight cycles into chemotherapy, with four more to go before the next progress scan.


Dear Cancer, You Have Awakened Me

by Leah Duncan

Dear Cancer,

You showed up when I least expected it. I suppose that’s how it always goes. I remember the air being sucked from my lungs for a brief minute, then, awkwardly, my mind went still, and I just stared out the window.


Dear Cancer, Thank You for Helping Me Find Myself

by Niya Kight June 3, 2022

Dear Breast Cancer,

Thank you.

Thank you for helping me find myself.
Thank you for releasing toxicity in my life.
Thank you for restoring my smile.
Thank you for forcing me to set boundaries.