25+ Inspiring Poems for Fighting or Surviving Cancer


When someone you know and love is facing a debilitating disease such as cancer, it may feel difficult and overwhelming to encompass exactly how you feel or the words you want to say to that person in your life. Poetry, books about cancer, and inspirational prayers can all be a source of peace. 

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Here, we have collected 25+ inspirational poems devoted to the fight and survival of cancer. Perhaps you will find something here that means something to you or those special people. 

Cancer Poems for Mom or Dad

When your mom or dad has cancer, the world can look a little different. If you are trying to find the right words to express your hope and love for the most important people in your life—perhaps these poems can provide proper inspiration. 

1. "Mothers Smile" by Tessa McGregor 

This beautifully written poem discusses how a mother wore a smile throughout her breast cancer journey. It’s a reminder that mothers are often among the strongest people in the world, and they often put on a brave face for their children and loved ones. 

2. ”What Cancer Cannot Do” by Unknown

This popularly shared poem is about all the things that cancer can’t take from us: memories, love, and the soul, among others. A poem like this serves as a wonderful reminder that there are so many things in this world that we can hold on to even if someone near and dear to us is struggling with illness. 

3. “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

When a parent is diagnosed with cancer, it may feel overwhelming to become part of their support network. However, your sense of hope and determination can be infectious. Maya Angelou’s poem is all about the steadiness of hope. The words of encouragement can be helpful to your sick parent, and yourself. 

4. ”God Can You Hear Me” by Jamie Cirello 

“God Can You Hear Me” is an emotional poem that discusses the complexities of a child watching their father battle cancer. The desperate plea in this poem is a prayer for someone with cancer that so many can relate to. 

5. "Live Your Dash" by Linda Ellis

“Live Your Dash” is a poem that inspires people to live that small dash between the time they are born until the time that they die. We are all only here for a short while, and the dash is everything. It’s when we make memories, live out our dreams, and become the people who we are. 

This poem serves as a beautiful reminder to all of us to live life with intention. It may be especially touching for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. 

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Cancer Poems for a Spouse or Partner

Spouses and partners hold a special place in our hearts. When that person in your life becomes ill, it’s only natural that you want to find the right words to make them feel a bit better. Here are a few cancer poems that are appropriate for your spouse or partner. 

6. "Hope" by Emily Dickinson 

This piece of poetry by legendary Emily Dickinson focuses on what hope truly means. It is the one thing that can be constant throughout any hardship, and it asks nothing from you in return. This may be the message you may need if your spouse is diagnosed with cancer. 

7. ”Dear Husband in Heaven” by Unknown

This touching poem is a beautifully written piece that expresses the love and remembrance of a husband who has passed away. The words are likely to resonate deeply with someone who has lost their spouse to cancer. 

8. ”Don’t Quit” by Unknown

While this poem is not about cancer, it does speak to anybody who is going through a challenging time. The theme of this poem is to continue on no matter what life throws at you. For a spouse who is struggling with their partner’s diagnosis, these may be the perfect words to hear. 

9. “Our Hearts Will Always Touch” by Ranja Kujala

No matter what life throws your way, your spouse is still the most important person in your life. Even if cancer creeps in, the love you share will always be present. 

10. "I Will Love You Forever" by Unknown 

Sometimes, all we need to say is how much we love the special person in our life. A cancer diagnosis can shake your entire world, but reminding your spouse that you remain constant is something that they will likely need to hear. 

Poems About Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer can be absolutely devastating. The poems listed here offer hope, promise, and understanding about this difficult fight for the young patient, as well as their family and friends. 

11. "I Hope" by Unknown

This poem is written from the perspective of having a child with cancer. It’s a stark look at the overwhelming sense of difficulty that every parent in this situation faces. 

12.”The Littlest Soldiers” by Cheryl Jagannathan 

Cheryl Jagannathan wrote this poem after her child was diagnosed with leukemia. This piece illustrates what life is like for children who have to overcome this illness. It’s poignant, touching, and remarkably raw. 

13. “Light” by Clairel Estevez 

This poem describes just how special the bond is between a child and their parent. It’s a precious nod at how much children mean to those who love them, and how that relationship inspires parent and child alike. 

14.”One Soldier” by Sheri Tharp 

“One Soldier” is about the specific struggle a child faces once they receive a diagnosis. It particularly discusses the strength and bravery it takes for kids to face their illness and all of the hardships that come along with their diagnosis. 

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Poems About Surviving Cancer

Surviving cancer is no easy battle. It is always moving to read get well wishes that say it's possible to overcome illness and live the life we were always meant to. 

16. "The Mirror" by Dana Stewart 

The most beautiful thing about this poem is its expression of all the changes a person endures as they fight for their life. It’s direct and holds back nothing as shares the feelings people have as they fight their battle. 

17. ”He’s in Control” by Doris Langton 

For people who are at their lowest, it may be helpful to hear these words. The content of this poem centers on the belief that God is in control and can help pull you through the darkest times of your recovery. 

18. “The Heart of a Survivor” by Unknown

This wonderful, concise poem may be just what you need to read to understand what it takes to survive the most difficult things in this world—including cancer. There are so many challenges people must face, and remembering just how much strength that requires can go a long way toward celebrating that journey. 

19. ”Sea of Pink” by Unknown

“Sea of Pink” outlines a person’s journey with breast cancer and how it creates a connection to other survivors. It’s a lovely poem that takes a real look at this life-changing disease. 

20. "It’s Me Again… Only Better" by Suzy Toronto 

This poem talks about the person you become once you’ve survived cancer. In so many ways you remain the same, but you are stronger and have a bit more understanding of who you are as a new version of yourself. 

Poems About Cancer for Funerals

Some people prefer to read poetry during funerals as a way to express their grief and celebrate the life of the person who has passed on.

Here are a few poems that may be ideal for funerals of friends who passed from cancer. 

21. "Remember Me" by Christina Rosetti 

Remembrance is such an important part of grieving. This beautifully written poem is an inspiring way to set the tone for a funeral ceremony in which you are celebrating someone’s life. 

22. “Love is Immortal” by Unknown 

Even though they may no longer be here with us on Earth, their love and memory will live on forever. This beautiful poem is appropriate to read during a funeral ceremony. 

23. ”When I'm Gone” by Lyman Hancock 

It’s hard to think of life without a loved one, but this poem is likely the way that they would want you to remember them. It discusses remembrance, but also moving forward with your life. 

24. ”You Meant so Much” by Cassie Mitchell 

People in our lives matter so much. Some relationships change who we are, and this poem reminds us of that. This could be read at a funeral to demonstrate just how much a person impacted your life. 

25. "Miss Me but Let Me Go" by Unknown 

“Miss Me but Let Me Go” is an honest expression of what a loved one might feel about their passing. We all want to be remembered, but it is also important to realize that death ends suffering, so we have to let them go. 

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Poetry Says What We Can’t  

Poetry is an excellent option for expression. It allows you to use the words of others to highlight exactly what you feel, even if you can’t find the right words to say.

Any of the poetry listed here can be spoken at a funeral, expressed in a card, or even recited to someone who needs to hear it the most. 

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