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Cancer Patient Claps Back At Brother’s Girlfriend For Making ‘Blunt’ Comments About Her Looks

Woman going through chemotherapy
Jim Craigmyle/Getty Images

We’ve all met those people at social events who like to nag and nag about something, whether it’s our appearance or something we believe in, and all we want to do is ask them to stop.

But there are undoubtedly better methods to the asking than others, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Cancer patient Redditor Quick_Option_4644 recently discovered she had cancer again. To make matters worse, when she went to a family gathering, her brother’s girlfriend kept commenting on her appearance, brought on by the new rounds of chemotherapy.

When she would not lighten up on the topic, the Original Poster (OP) let her temper get the best of her.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for pulling the cancer card to shame someone and drawing attention to myself at a party?”

The OP’s relationship with her body changed over the course of chemotherapy. 

“Seven years ago, I had cervical cancer, which wreaked havoc on my life in a lot of ways.”

“Perhaps stupidly, but I was more upset about losing my hair than I was about my fertility, at least at first. I used to have long hair, rarely ever cut it, but shaved it during the course of chemo.”

“Even after treatment, after remission, I found that I felt empowered by my new hairstyle (mostly what it meant to me) and kept it short.”

But that didn’t soften the blow of another cancer diagnosis.

“Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with vaginal cancer.”

“Thankfully, we caught it early, so hopes are high, but I won’t lie and say I’m not upset that this is happening to me again.”

“This upset has led me to be irritable.”

The OP didn’t have a lot of patience for her brother’s girlfriend’s questions.

“My brother, his new girlfriend, and newborn flew in for a visit for the first time since the baby was born. This is the first time in years we’ve seen him, except for video calls, because they’re out of the country now.”

“She’s a sweetheart but kind of blunt.”

“Over the course of the party: She pointed out that my haircut made my face look round, but that’s the chemo causing fluid buildup.”

“She asked me multiple times if I was sure I didn’t want a drink, mostly because she was also getting herself one.”

“She also said I was very confident to avoid wearing jewelry with such short hair; again, she is a little lacking in social mores, but still, she’s very genuine in what she says.”

The OP spoke up about her condition.

“I just got sick of answering questions about my lack of alcohol, about my haircut, about my face, so I snapped, admittedly.”

“After she commented about my hair again, I said, ‘I have cancer,’ very bluntly and too loudly.”

“Many people overheard, which caused many eyes to turn onto us, during a party that was meant for my brother and his girlfriend.”

The OP’s brother lashed out at her for her behavior.

“My brother took me aside after everyone else had left the house, and his girlfriend was in the car.”

“He said I made a scene. He expressed his sympathy that I was dealing with cancer again, but he said that he wished I chose a better time to reveal it because it took away from his and his family’s announcements.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought the OP’s brother and his girlfriend were insensitive.


“She was being pushy about details, and you gave her an answer.”

“The only AHs in this situation are your brother and his wife.” – No_Yogurtcloser_1020

“NTA! At all! Ever! This ‘sweetheart’ repeatedly makes comments on your appearance, nope, and how dare your brother!”

“Didn’t need to announce it then?!? The entitled behavior from people honestly astounds me!”

“They did not know the level of your cancer or severity, so to instantly run to you stole our little party with your life-threatening illness is disgusting! I can’t cope. Facepalm.” – Abject-Strawberry525

“NTA. She literally pushed you into snapping at her. It’s never appropriate to comment on someone’s appearance or choice of abstaining from alcohol the way she was doing.” – Naive-Particular-28

“NTA. One of the only ‘good’ (note the air quotes) things about cancer is how it can shut up rude people. You were extremely patient with someone making comments they had no right to make, and it’s not like you lied. She’s right to be embarrassed, and hopefully, it teaches her to mind her manners.”

“I’m almost five years NED (No Evidence of Disease) now, but when I was first diagnosed, there was a particularly misogynistic jerk at work who liked to comment on women’s bodies.”

“I’m naturally thin, but lost 20 pounds due to colon cancer. I looked awful, but he complimented my weight loss. I responded with a super cheery, ‘Thanks; it’s the cancer!'”

“He completely lost it, yelling about how gross I was for talking about cancer. He even complained to HR that I’d created a hostile work environment by embarrassing him.”

“Turns out complaining about a colleague having cancer gets people fired REAL fast.”

“Your brother’s girlfriend should take this as a lesson learned to stop hiding her rudeness behind claiming to be blunt and learn some manners. It’s not a cute quirk, she’s just rude, and someday someone was going to call her on it.”

“She should be glad that she learned this lesson where the only consequences were embarrassment and leaving a party early.”

“Also, f**k cancer. Wishing you all the best!” – Stellaknight


“One ‘well-meaning’ but insulting comment is a mistake, but multiple is an attack. Stop excusing her behavior with euphemisms like ‘lacking social mores,’ or being ‘blunt’ or ‘genuine.'”

“She’s a catty bully, and she reaped what she sowed.” – Laines_Ecossaises

“I’m autistic, and I wouldn’t behave the way SIL did. I also have zero social intuition.”

“Also, I have a shaved head, and many neurotypical women I know commented on how brave I am after I shaved my hair off.”

“It was a brief comment, usually followed by, ‘I’d like to try but lack the courage.’ That’s okay. Going on and on about it? Not ok. NTA, OP.” – thecarpetbug

“NTA. I don’t care if she’s from a culture that constantly insults people. She was visiting your culture. And she’s with your brother, so he should explain that it’s not right to act like that on home visits. But my guess is it’s less about culture and more about her being an AH.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong. I would suggest calmly and kindly calling her out from now on. ‘That haircut makes your face look round.’ Say, ‘That is a rude thing to say.'”

“‘Why aren’t you drinking?’ Say, ‘That’s personal, and you’re making me uncomfortable.'”

“It’s weird to talk like this at first. It feels formal and strange, but I’ve found that if you’re calm and kind about it, it can really take people aback and at least shut them up for a minute.”

“And, your brother is also an AH for admonishing how you chose to share that you have cancer. It’s not his business. And he should have been ashamed that his girlfriend treated you that way and made you resort to announcing your personal medical info to get her to leave you alone.” – friendlily

But others felt the OP could have handled the situation better, even while overwhelmed.

“YTA and a small touch of ESH. I want to preface this with, being an a**hole in this situation is absolutely warranted.”

“You could’ve been more tactful and asked her to step aside for a moment instead of ‘causing a scene,’ but your response is completely warranted especially considering what you’re going through and how she was commenting on your appearance.” – baekins48

“ESH. What is it with people thinking they can blow their fuse whenever they want, and it’s fine? Yes, the sis-in-law is a major a**hole. But you didn’t need to ruin the party.” – Spektra54

“ESH. The girlfriend sounds awful badgering people about this and that. But you probably should have told them ahead of time about the cancer. And use your words to tell her that her questions are making you uncomfortable or just walk away from her.” – vac_roc

“OP ESH. Your brother’s girlfriend should have kept her comments to herself, but you didn’t exactly tell the girlfriend you didn’t appreciate those comments.” – NotFunny3453

“Honestly… I think you’re the only one to blame in this situation. You hid the fact that you had cancer.”

“You could have very easily pulled the girlfriend aside and told her. If you did, I bet the questions/comments would have stopped immediately. But you chose to yell it out to the entire party.”

“You have zero right to be p**sed off if you’re not transparent. Sorry, but YTA.” – 2BigTwoStrong

The subReddit was sympathetic to the OP’s latest cancer diagnosis, but they were a little torn about how she shared the news.

While everyone could understand it was in the heat of the moment, some felt that the OP could have practiced more restraint by at least pulling the girlfriend aside rather than speaking loudly in front of everyone.

Most, however, felt the girlfriend had been insensitive enough, and if she really wanted the party to center on herself and her baby, she should have focused her topics on that instead of the OP’s appearance.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.