Laughter As Cancer Medicine


Everyone can agree that cancer’s no laughing matter. Then why are there so many websites, books, cartoons – even clothing – devoted to finding the humor in it?

Humor Has Health Benefits

Although cancer is serious, humor can be a good antidote. Laughter lightens your mood and helps you cope. In fact, Mayo Clinic states that humor reduces stress, controls pain, improves your immune system and promotes healing. It’s one of many healing therapies that can enhance your quality of life and it's available to everyone.

Being happy is the best cure of all diseases.

Heard of Patch Adams? He’s a physician who takes a playful approach to the practice of medicine. Every year, he organizes a group of volunteers who travel the world dressed as clowns to bring humor to patients, orphans and other people. He encourages medical students to create caring and upbeat relationships with their patients. Patch Adams believes that “being happy is the best cure of all diseases.”

Find the Fun

Life is full of opportunities to laugh. Hang out with friends who bring a smile to your face. Watch a funny movie or television show. Download comedy podcasts and listen to them in the car. Read the comics before the rest of the paper. Here are a few places to start:

The Little Pink Book of (mostly) Cancer Cartoons: A little book of cartoons for women who’ve been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer

Laughing in the Face of Cancer: A book and blog by Pam Lacko, a two-time ovarian cancer survivor

The Stupid Cancer Show: A radio podcast focused on young adults with cancer

Cancer on Five Dollars a Day: A book by stand-up comedian Robert Schimmel about his face-off with stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Welcome to the Hotel Melanoma: A blog for people dealing with all types of cancer. Rich McDonald, the author, often changes up the lyrics to popular songs, infusing them with humor and hope. Here’s a sample of his version of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young:

May God bless and keep you always
May your skin checks show pale hue
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder from your scars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay
Forever young

Wear It Well

Want the world to laugh with you? Wear a t-shirt that shares your perspective on cancer.

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You can find these products and more at: