Often times cancer survivors and fighters don’t feel comfortable ‘telling it like it is,’ out of the fear of seeming rude, insensitive or making people think that cancer makes us grumpy. It can get so frustrating when other people are always saying the wrong thing, or seem like they just really don’t understand. But at the same time, caregivers are new at this, too. It’s hard for friends and family to know what to say, as well as when and how to say it.

But when it comes to cancer, being honest about our feelings is the best thing for everyone involved. So we asked the IHadCancer.com community what they really want to say—without holding anything back.

1.   The new normal is scary.

Really scary. So don’t disappear on me when treatment ends! I may need you more than ever.

2.   You can’t catch cancer from me.

It’s not contagious. You can stop avoiding me now.

3.   Everything might not be okay.

Please don’t tell me that you “know” it will be.

4.   If you can’t handle this, I don’t have time for you.

So if you walk away, don’t try and come back when I’m healthy again.

5.   Everyone’s experience with cancer is different.

So you really have to stop talking about your brother’s sister-in-law’s cousin who passed away from cancer. It doesn’t help.

6.   Chemo brain is real.

And it’s hard to deal with. Please be patient with me. It’s not like I want to be forgetful.

7.   Cancer doesn’t define me.

So can we please talk about something else? I’m still me.

8.   Life with cancer is an emotional rollercoaster.

The kind that goes upside down and leaves you hanging with the blood rushing to your face for a while—so, yeah, I might be optimistic one day and a huge b**** the next. It happens.

#5WordsToCancer — Honor the survivors, the fighters, and their families with five words you would save to cancer.