Angry at cancer
Supporting a loved one,  Mental Health,  Self Care

My mom has cancer. And I’m angry about it.

It’s completely normal and understandable to be feeling angry when your mom or another loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer is unfair and often brings up a multitude of complicated emotions. When I was diagnosed, it was not only a shock to me, but to my family as well. My kids, despite being adults, had their world rocked by the news, and my daughter later confessed that she too was angry about my diagnosis, and angry with me, because I was her mom, the rock of the family and not supposed to be sick or scared.

It’s important to acknowledge that anger can arise from feelings of fear, concern, and even love. You’re not really angry with your mom, much like I wasn’t genuinely angry with my husband for his occasional emotional unavailability during my diagnosis. We are humans and we are vulnerable and we are going through trauma. We’re angry at the situation, at the injustice of it, at the inability to change the circumstances or fix the problem.

There were moments when I felt betrayed by my own body, despite having led a healthy lifestyle. That anger was disheartening and often misplaced, causing the occasional shouting match with my spouse. We were both simply confused, frightened, and trying to navigate the new reality we found ourselves in.

Remember, it’s important to navigate these feelings in a way that is honest and kind to yourself.

Try expressing how you feel to a confidant or consider writing in a journal. It’s okay to ask for help or speak with a professional if you think it will help. What you’re experiencing is a form of trauma and grief and it’s important to let yourself feel these emotions. Whenever you’re ready, possibly consider discussing your feelings with your mother, if you both feel comfortable with it.

Worried you might say the wrong thing? Want to role-play that important conversation? Try using She can help guide you with the wisdom and knowledge of someone who has experienced cancer.

Ellyn Winters-Robinson is a breast cancer survivor, entrepreneur, author, in-demand speaker, women’s health advocate, professional communicator and a globally recognized health rebel. Ellyn's best-selling book "Flat Please Hold the Shame," is a girlfriend’s companion guide for those on the breast cancer journey. She is also the co-creator of, the world’s first conversational AI companion for those on the breast cancer journey. With Dense Breasts Canada and award-winning photographer Hilary Gauld, Ellyn also co-produced I WANT YOU TO KNOW, a celebrated photo essay showing the diverse faces and stories of 31 individuals on the breast cancer journey. Ellyn’s story and have been featured in People Magazine, Chatelaine Magazine, the Globe and Mail, CTV National News and Your Morning, and Fast Company.

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