The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

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: Twisted Symbiosis

by Farah Contractor June 6, 2024

Dear Cancer,

When you made my blood your home, I understood you. I always wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. Walking through my middle school during overcast January days, I kept my head down, unsure of who thought of me as a friend or as a convenient distraction from their own loneliness.

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An Open Letter to My Cancer, Dirty Gertie 

by Allison Perkins

Dear Cancer (a.k.a. Dirty Gertie),

I hope this letter finds you unwell. More accurately, I assume—with fingers crossed—that this letter finds you dead and gone. Unfortunately, my total confidence in your demise has been restricted by a single, nagging whisper that constantly threatens: “What if it comes back?”

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Dear Cancer: An Evolution of Hope and Advocacy

by Andrea Hans June 5, 2024

Dear Cancer,

It is with a mixture of relief, gratitude, and determination that I address you today. You, who once infiltrated my life with fear and uncertainty, have now become a symbol of resilience, hope, and the power of human spirit.

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Hidden But Not Forgotten: A Story About Refractory Cancer

by Carly Flumer June 4, 2024

Dear Cancer,

I remember being diagnosed with you back when I was 27. How the simple words, “You have cancer,” changed my life in an instant. I was alone with a pathologist and a radiologist, not exactly hearing the words that were being spoken to me.

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Dear Cancer, I Will Never Bow Down to You

by Rachelle Rolf June 3, 2024

Dear Cancer,

You entered my life before I could even form my first official memory, as if you wanted me to come into this world knowing only pain and suffering. You broke my parents’ hearts and stole their hopes of having another happy, healthy baby.

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Dear Cancer, It’s Time to Break Up

by Chelsey Gomez July 12, 2023

Dear Cancer,

When you first entered my life, I greeted you with my fists up, ready to fight. You were scary… but I knew giving up was scarier. You never failed to remind me day after day that you were there. You whispered in my ear, “Time is running out. Just give up. You’re never getting out of here alive.”

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Dear Cancer, I Knew That Something Was Lurking

by Theresa Rees

Dear Cancer,

I’m not really sure how to address you. You’re kind of like that mean girl who bullies just because she can or the mysterious stranger in the corner of the room—the kind that people are interested in but don’t want anything to do with.

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Dear Cancer, You Weren’t Invited

by Dana Garcia July 10, 2023

Dear Cancer,

You came into my life abruptly and invaded my body. The moment I heard your name you terrorized my soul until it was dust in the wind. You are soul-crushing. Every cancer patient would agree that we wish we would have never met you. But here we are. You make the strongest souls weak.

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Dear Cancer, You Tried to Take My Life Away Twice

by Danette Toledo June 30, 2023

Dear Cancer,

On Feb 26, 2023, you surprised me when I was referred to a blood specialist. My blood count showed I was anemic and the numbers got very high. My doctors could not figure out why I was anemic or why my abdominal area felt hard around my belly.

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Dear Cancer, Thank You, But Never Come Back

by Mandy Brixey June 28, 2023

Dear Cancer,

It’s been nearly a year since you were evicted. I don’t miss you. But that doesn’t mean I’m grateful for this experience with you. So I wanted to write a letter to tell you my feelings. While you stayed silent, I still have my voice, both literally and figuratively. I won’t let you just leave without my feelings being known.

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