Friday Speak Out!: On Being a Cancer Blogger

Friday, March 18, 2022
by Laura Yeager

I never planned on being a cancer blogger, but then again, I never planned on getting cancer. Who does?

In fact, I had cancer twice, two breast cancers on my right breast in ten years. The cancer was relatively easy; it was the treatment—chemotherapy, radiation, double mastectomy, reconstruction, ten years of cancer medication—that was difficult. My first cancer in 2011 was Stage 2A, my second, a splotchy red rash of angiosarcoma; both were physically painless, thank God.

What does a writer do when something new and odd happens to her? She writes about it, and so, in October of 2016, about five years ago, I wrote my first article for a cancer website and magazine (CURE® magazine). I’ve been writing for them ever since.

All writers’ processes are unique, especially when writing about something so sensitive as cancer, a deadly illness, the last time I checked. Here’s a little about my writing process when it comes to writing about my cancer journey:

  • I’ve always felt guilty about this writing gig because my cancer was relatively mild compared to others’. Mine hasn’t metastasized or maimed me; it has taken both of my breasts, but that’s a small price to pay for leading a happy, productive life that seems to have no ending point in sight. Every time I write a cancer blog post, I feel a little spoiled because at this point, I am not staring down death. And my oncologist “fired” me in July of 2021. Might I be out of the woods? Seems so at this point. This adds to the guilt.

  • While feeling guilty through this five-year freelance writing job, I’ve also been successful at it. CURE® likes my point of view and my writing style, but most importantly, my cancer stories. I’ve written about (among many other topics) cancer scans, operations, breast prostheses, and most recently, terrific bedroom romance after all these years since cancer. 

  • All my blog posts for CURE® are upbeat, “happy” little cancer pieces, just like Bob Ross’s “happy, little trees.” I guess all artists must make a choice in their art: is it optimistic or pessimistic? Mine has always been on the cheerful side.

  • My cancer blog posts have helped me get through this ultimately unfortunate turn of events. They help me process the mental pain of fearing death and watching my family members struggle with my illness. My teenager was six when I was first diagnosed. He was sixteen when my oncologist was “done with me” last year. That’s practically his whole childhood with a sick mom. That’s rough on a family. Thank God, I could write about what was going on to help me understand our predicament.

Processing the illness has been an upside to my blogging experience. I don’t wish cancer on anyone, of course, but for a writer, it’s just more grist for the mill. I am grateful for CURE® for giving me a platform to record my cancer journey.

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Laura Yeager has been writing fiction and nonfiction for over 40 years. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Gotham Writers and at Kent State University. Laura Yeager’s work at can be found at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Andrea said...

I think your guilty feeling comes from being able to exploit a deeply personal experience to keep you busy and keep up your cheerful demeanor. I admire you for being open enough to share this with other people who also either have cancer or are going through the emotions involved.

Unknown said...

In April 2022, will publish excerpts of Laura Yeager's cancer memoir chapbook, Cancer Loot: The Stuff that Helped Me Survive Two Bouts of Cancer in Ten Years.

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