Your bill of rights
On this page: Bill of rights for people with cancer | Bill of rights for family members
People with cancer and their families are still the people they have
always been, with the same right to be treated with respect, as unique
individuals. Sometimes, in the bustle of treatment and care, these
rights can be forgotten or pushed aside.
The following ‘Bill of Rights' for people with cancer and family members
has been adapted from the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation's
Bill of rights for people with cancer
- I have the right to be told the truth about my disease.
- I have the right to feel bad if I receive bad news.
- I have the right to talk to my doctor and my family about my cancer. And I have the right to not talk about it if I choose.
- The fact that I am sick doesn't give others the right to make decisions for me.
- I have the right to be treated as a person and not merely as an object.
- I have the right to think of other things besides my cancer. I do not have to allow cancer to control every detail of my life.
- I have the right to ask others for help with the things I cannot do for myself, within reason.
- I always have the right to hope, whether for a full cure, a longer life, or a happier life here and now.
- It is okay to sometimes be angry around people I love. My anger does not mean I have stopped loving them.
- I have the right to receive the best possible pain relief.
- I have the right to cope with my cancer in my own way, and my
family has the right to cope with it in theirs. Our ways may be
different, but that is okay.
Bill of rights for family members
- I have the right to enjoy my own good health without feeling guilty.
- It is not my fault that someone I love has cancer.
- I have the right to get outside help for the person with cancer if I cannot manage all the responsibilities of home care myself.
- I also have the right to get help for myself, even if others in my family choose not to get help.
- I have the right to choose who I will talk to about the cancer. If
other people feel hurt because I do not want to answer all their
questions, it is not my fault.
- Even if I am a child, I have a right to know what is going on in the family.
- I have a right to be told the truth about the cancer in words I can understand.
- I do not always have to agree with someone just because he or she has cancer.
- Sometimes I might feel angry around the person with cancer. Sickness does not stop someone from being a real person.
- I have the right to feel what I feel now, not what someone else says I ‘should' feel.
- I have the right to look after my own needs, even if they do not
seem as great as those of the person with cancer. I may take ‘time out'
from the cancer without feeling disloyal.