For those new to the format, a podcast is a series of audio episodes focused around a specific theme. Podcasts allow listeners to learn, laugh, be inspired, and find hope. They can also help listeners feel more connected to others who share similar life experiences.
Podcasts developed for cancer patients often feature doctors, patients, and cancer survivors who share stories and information designed to educate, comfort, inspire, and entertain. Simply hearing how others have coped, or are in the process of coping, in a similar situation can provide comfort.
Benefits of Listening to Cancer Podcasts
Listening to, and following a podcast, can be a rewarding experience, connecting you with a community of others who have had similar experiences, feelings, and challenges. This deeper connection can provide a welcome source of support as you navigate the journey through diagnosis, treatment, and healing.
Podcasts designed for cancer patients can provide the following benefits:
Listening to cancer survivors' voices can be incredibly comforting, giving you a deeper understanding of the emotions you may be feeling. Hearing stories from others who have similar experiences also helps you remember that you are not alone on your journey.
A podcast can inspire and uplift. Cancer podcasts often feature speakers and guests who have navigated, or are in the process of navigating, difficult journeys. Hearing how others find joy, peace, and healing through their experiences can provide hope and inspiration when you need motivation.
Enjoyment and Self-Care
Self-care is particularly important for cancer patients, and listening to a podcast is an excellent way to care for yourself. When you make time to rest in a comfortable space or go for a walk while listening to a podcast, you remind yourself that your health and happiness matter.
A podcast can also be incredibly enjoyable. It can distract you from negative thoughts and everyday routine, giving you time to laugh and learn as you enjoy hearing others' stories and perspectives.
Listening to a cancer podcast can also be very informative, providing a better understanding of what you may be experiencing, so you feel more aware and in control of your journey, alongside your physical and emotional health.
Many cancer podcasts feature doctors discussing the science behind cancer, the latest available treatments, and the research medical professionals are doing to discover more about the disease. Gathering this type of information can help you make informed choices and give you hope .
Hearing stories from other cancer patients and learning from doctors can be therapeutic in providing new coping techniques to help manage some of the physical and emotional challenges you're facing. This can help you plan and feel more hopeful about the days ahead.
10 of the Best Cancer Podcasts
Podcasts come in a range of flavors. They may be humorous, touching, inspiring, informative, or some combination of those characteristics. Likewise, people listen to podcasts for different reasons. Some want to laugh, while others want to learn, and many want to laugh as they learn! The following podcast list has a diverse range of styles, so you can find one that meets your needs.
1. Frankly Speaking About Cancer
The Frankly Speaking About Cancer podcast aims to inspire, educate and empower people impacted by cancer. Such individuals include patients, survivors, caregivers, and those who have lost loved ones to cancer. Hosted by the former CEO of the Cancer Support Community, Kim Thiboldeaux, this podcast provides helpful insight and inspiring stories from:
- Medical experts
- Authors and advocates
- Cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers
With such diverse guests, the Frankly Speaking About Cancer podcast covers topics like:
- Anxiety related to a cancer diagnosis for yourself, a loved one, or someone you're providing care to
- Grief from losing a loved one to cancer
- Self-care after a cancer diagnosis or while providing care to a loved one with cancer
- Receiving a cancer diagnosis at a young age or as a young adult
- Tips for talking to kids about cancer
- Spotlights on various types of cancer and ideal treatment options
- Inspiring firsthand accounts from cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers
Frankly Speaking About Cancer is hosted by the Cancer Support Community, a non-profit organization founded over 40 years ago in Santa Monica, California. They have since grown into a global community with over 175 associated locations. The Cancer Support Community is committed to helping people impacted by cancer with empowering knowledge, strengthening action, and a welcoming community. The podcast is part of a relentless effort to ally with people attempting to maintain normalcy amidst a cancer diagnosis.
2. ASCO Daily News
The ASCO Daily News is the official podcast of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Its target audience is ASCO members and oncology health care providers. Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with various cancers of the internal organs. Although this podcast is created for health care providers, it can also benefit cancer patients and survivors.
Hosted by Dr. John Sweetenham — an oncologist and the Editor in Chief at ASCO Daily news — this oncology podcast provides unbiased, high-quality research summaries and explores recent cancer research and therapy developments with different oncological experts. Dr. Sweetenham is principally involved in national and international clinical trials surrounding lymphoma.1 He's also the Associate Director for Clinical Affairs at UT Southwestern's Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Care Center.
Dr. Sweetenham and company deliver concise reflections on the latest innovations and developments in cancer therapy and research. With such expertise and charisma from the hosts, you can gather valuable intel on the happenings in the medical world regarding cancer. This intel can provide hope and inspiration to you if you're a cancer patient, survivor, or caregiver, as it is dependable and situated at the frontiers of cancer research. If you're looking for an intellectually stimulating podcast on cancer that inspires, the ASCO Daily News podcast is a great option.
3. Beyond Cancer
Cancer affects people in more ways than one, from physical and emotional impacts to quiet stigmas and misconceptions. The Beyond Cancer podcast explores the ways cancer survivors have navigated the physical side effects, emotional adversity, and unique life challenges during and after cancer treatment.
The guests on this podcast are primarily cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers providing firsthand accounts of their experiences. Still, medical experts and health care professionals appear on the podcast periodically to offer insight, support, and advice on coping with the many obstacles of living with cancer. This way, Beyond Cancer provides a personal touch with practical insight into your inspiring cancer podcast repertoire.
The Beyond Cancer podcast is associated with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
4. CURE Talks Cancer and Cancer Horizons
CURE Talks Cancer and Cancer Horizons form the dual podcast initiative from CURE. These weekly podcasts underline the impetus of CURE, namely cancer updates, research, and education. As such, this podcast provides insight into recent developments in cancer research and treatment and information on cancer's impacts on your body and mind. With these podcasts, you'll hear from:
- Various health care professionals and medical experts
Common topics of discussion with the CURE Talks Cancer and Cancer Horizons podcasts include:
- Understanding the psychological effects a cancer diagnosis can have on patients, caregivers, and loved ones
- Navigating the disruptions that a cancer diagnosis can have on your life, whether you're a patient, survivor, caregiver, or close to someone diagnosed with cancer
- Finding hope and purpose through advocacy
- Expert medical insight into trends and happenings in the medical world with cancer
- Reframing your understanding or experience of cancer in healthy, constructive ways
CURE was launched in 2002 as a magazine and online resource to support patients with cancer, survivors, and their caregivers. Their magazine has over 140,000 subscribers worldwide, and their online resources, including their podcast, reach a million visitors monthly.2 The popularity of CURE is largely thanks to its high-quality resources and the breadth of topics it covers.
5. You, Me and the Big C
You, Me and the Big C takes a candid but light-hearted approach to talking about life with a cancer diagnosis and therapy. It's hosted by current and former cancer patients who blend humor with honesty to deliver an unflinching look at cancer diagnoses and human resilience in the face of it.
This BBC Radio 5 podcast's topics vary widely from how cancer is portrayed in various media forms to advice on dating after a cancer diagnosis. Some of those topics include:
- Dispelling cancer myths
- Advice on the right ways of speaking to people dealing with cancer
- Beauty tips following a cancer diagnosis
- Questions of fertility and family with cancer
- Information about different types of cancer
- The interplay between cancer and other illnesses
- Trends in cancer treatment and detection
- Understanding and processing grief
While the hosts of You, Me and the Big C are the main attraction of this podcast, they also invite various health experts, advocates, authors, patients, and survivors as guests to discuss their work and experience with cancer.
6. The Open Ears Project
A podcast does not need to be about cancer for it to be inspiring to cancer patients and survivors. The Open Ears Project is a podcast where guests share their favorite piece of classical music and explain the meaning it holds for them. Guests include actors, health care professionals, musicians, architects, art teachers, and people from all walks of life.
Various studies show that music — specifically classical music — holds many benefits for your overall health, including reduced anxiety, depression, and other symptoms commonly associated with cancer diagnoses.3 A podcast that helps open you up to the beauty in music may also benefit your experience living with cancer — whether as a patient, survivor, or caregiver.
7. Bladder Cancer Matters Project
The Bladder Cancer Matters Project is a podcast hosted by Rick Bangs, a cancer research advocate with the SWOG Cancer Research Network and bladder cancer survivor.4 This podcast is for, by, and about the bladder cancer community. It is associated with the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), an organization founded in 2005 dedicated to advancing bladder cancer research and supporting people impacted by bladder cancer.
In each episode of the Bladder Cancer Matters Project, host Rick Bangs discusses bladder cancer topics with patients, survivors, advocates, doctors, researchers, caregivers, and others. Common topics of the Bladder Cancer Matters Project include:
- Updates and trends concerning bladder cancer treatment and interventions
- Practical nutrition and lifestyle tips for dealing with and overcoming bladder cancer
- Guidance for what you should do after receiving an initial bladder cancer diagnosis
- Advice on treatment options for bladder cancer
- Inspiring stories from bladder cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors
8. Happy Place
Many of the emotions people experience with cancer diagnoses and caregiving are shared by anyone who's experienced disease, deep love, and loss. Happy Place is a podcast where guests discuss what happiness means to them amid difficulties and intense emotions. While this podcast is not directly about cancer diagnoses, many cancer patients and survivors can relate to and draw inspiration from the stories and discoveries of the guests on the Happy Place podcast, who share their unique insights into what happiness means.
Unraveled is a six-episode podcast that explores the mysteries of the science of cancer. Hosted by experienced journalist Ken Shulman, this podcast explores:
- Having cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic
- The cellular activity of cancer
- The similarities between cancer research and 15th-century Florentine masters in a culture of mentorship
- How certain cancers can falsely influence our bodies' perception of oxygen levels
- Bold new cancer therapies
- A real-life cancer research story that mirrors the parable of the wolf in sheep's clothing
Ken Shulman's journalistic work has appeared in NPR, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times, BBC, and PBS. Shulman's work on Unraveled aims to provide hope for cancer patients and scientists alike. As such, Shulman communicates complex ideas in a concise and accessible way that anyone can appreciate.
Like Beyond Cancer, Unraveled is also associated with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston, Massachusetts.
10. Jesse vs Cancer
In the Jesse vs Cancer podcast, a comedian and colon cancer patient, Jesse Case, provides an honest and humorous firsthand account of his experience with stage IV colon cancer.
This podcast follows part of his journey from starting as a touring stand-up comedian, gaining a following in Los Angeles, and returning to his family home after being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Jesse vs Cancer provides a healthy dose of comedic relief to anyone whose life has been impacted by cancer. The podcast also covers a broader range of topics, as Jesse's comedy takes it to other humorous places.
If you found this post useful, we invite you to browse our blog for more articles written for cancer patients and caregivers.