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Woman snaps at friend who calls herself a cancer survivor, 'you got a lesion removed.'

Woman snaps at friend who calls herself a cancer survivor, 'you got a lesion removed.'


In general, it's bad form to undermine someone else's pain, even if you think they're 'making a big deal' of it. As an outsider, you can't speak for the intensity of someone else's experience. That said, it can be hard to watch someone exaggerating or straight-up lying about what they've been through when you know the real story.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her friend she shouldn't claim the status of 'cancer survivor.' She wrote:

'AITA for telling my friend that she shouldn’t call herself a cancer survivor because it’s misleading?'

About two years ago, my 25F friend Sarah 29F had a strawberry size lesion on her thigh which is about 3 CM and it turned to be an early-stage of skin cancer. All they did back then was excise it under local anesthesia, and they told her it was over and she doesn’t have it anymore.

Today I was with her and our mutual friend has recurrent abdominal pain. He's gonna do an exploratory laparotomy to know the cause he kept talking about how scared he is and then Sarah came in and threw the cancer card. She started talking about “ how she survived cancer and how it destroyed her life and he will be fine and she understand how he feels etc.”

I snapped at her and told her it’s misleading of her to call herself a cancer survivor because what she had back then was almost nothing and just a lesion on the skin. And when people hear the word “cancer survivor “ they would think about someone who took chemotherapy and almost died because of it. But in her case, it was nothing just a removal with a small incision in the clinic.

I thought others would have my back, but they said I’m an AH and that left me wondering did I say something wrong?

Commenters were quick to diagnose the situation.

Europeangirl101 wrote:

I'm going to get down voted for this, but NTA. She could talk about the scare, the emotions, her journey and how she felt about it all, but to call it a survival. Someone who truly survived cancer would probably raise their eyebrows to this.

Cancer is not something desirable or a light topic to talk about, so I really think your friend that has the back pain needs your unconditional love and support, not someone else's story and proclaiming everything is going to be ok (unfortunately not the friend, not you, not even Sarah can know that).

blueavole wrote:

NTA for the “it destroyed her life” comment.

If she didn’t have anything but an outpatient procedure, that is excessive. She could have said ‘ i’m an example of excellent outcomes when caught early. Don’t worry before you know’ and be exactly right and helpful.

reeserdog wrote:

NTA. I had skin cancer too and I would never say I was a cancer survivor. It’s incredibly manipulative and misleading. I can’t believe people are defending her.

Lilac-Roses-Sunsets wrote:

NTA. I had thyroid cancer. They had to remove one of my thyroid’s. Technically I am a cancer survivor and I have to be checked every 6 months . But there is no way I would put myself in the same category as someone who almost died. Sarah is being a little dramatic.

ChampionEither5412 wrote:

NTA. People are dumb and think all cancers are the same. Getting a mole removed that turned out to be cancerous and required no extra treatment is not a big deal. Getting a stage one diagnosis with an excellent prognosis should not scare you. If you are around medicine and actual disease a lot you will understand the difference of getting one surgery and having stage 3 or 4 and truly not knowing if it'll be cured.

Or getting a slow-growing cancer that won't kill you, like certain prostate cancers in older men. My mom had radiation for stage one breast cancer and she always had an excellent prognosis and just went about her usual business. She would never call herself a cancer survivor because it was never going to kill her.

It's like having a cold versus having cystic fibrosis. They both might affect your breathing but they're in no way comparable. Or breaking your leg versus being paralyzed. People need to take perspective.

OP is most definitely NTA here, it sounds like Sarah needs some perspective.

Sources: Reddit
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