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, I Never Expected You

by Anna Bledsoe June 3, 2022

Dear Cancer,

Before meeting you, I was so distracted. I lived such an unintentional life, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to forgive. I was consumed with bitterness and annoyance at everything in me and around me.


Dear Cancer, You Inflict Pain

by Ellen O'Brien

Dear Cancer,

I am writing to express my anger regarding the pain you have caused. You have taken many things from my life that I will never be able to get back. 

My grievances began in 1993 at the age of five when you first arrived.


Dear Cancer, I Knew I Had to Survive

by Bethany Ross June 1, 2022

Dear Cancer, 

I hate you. You took more from me than you will ever know. There I was, newly married, thirty years old, running half marathons, when you decided to invade my body and life. I had been sick for nine months, vomiting every day and seeing doctor after doctor, and no one could figure out what was wrong with me.


Dear Cancer, You Failed

by Maricia Cole

Dear Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma,

We met in 2020 during a pandemic. So, I guess you wanted to be memorable. I am not sure what else your agenda was, but If it was to defeat me, I am sorry that you failed at that mission.


Dear Cancer, This Has Not Been a Linear Journey

by Sha’Leicia Simpson May 31, 2022

Dear Cancer,

Last year I wrote you a letter like this one, but now I am in a very different place, and I have a lot more to say. Last year when I wrote to you, I was a 23-year-old patient struggling with the effects of chemo. Now I am a 24-year-old survivor trying to heal and find my footing again.


Dear Cancer, I Feel So Much Guilt

by Amanda Charron July 8, 2021

Why do you choose to end my friends’ lives instead of mine? They’re parents and spouses too. Some of them had much less time with their kids than I have had with mine. All of them were so accomplished and loving. I feel so much guilt over this.


Dear Cancer, It’s Time For You To Go

by Kristen Reilly July 2, 2021

Most importantly, every night I talk with God and am assured that this is not my time. Not today, cancer. I am comforted as my hands dance across each rosary bead.


Dear Cancer, I’ll Keep Winning

by Natalie Hilton

You have taken away so many lives,
You even tried to take mine.
You have caused so many cries,
But God gave me a sign.


Dear Cancer, I Wish You the Worst

by Brandon Gutteridge June 25, 2021

I’ve moved numerous times and think I’ve finally found a quiet place away from you. You’ve stalked me through so many cities, I’m surprised you haven’t found me here yet.


Dear Cancer, This is My Battle Cry

by Andrew Williams

I learned your lessons and will share them with others before you enter their lives so they will not make your acquaintance. You are longer taking the lead in this match. It’s my turn; it’s humanity’s turn to strike back.