You can’t always put your cancer experience into words. Sometimes, a song sums up how you’re feeling when you can’t quite describe it. Other times, a song gives you a boost of encouragement and “you got this” vibes at the moment you most needed to hear it. When you’re coping with your or a loved one’s cancer diagnosis, you deserve all the reminders that you’re a badass that you can get.
If you feel a boost after listening to music, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that for people with cancer, music can help reduce anxiety, depression and improve overall quality of life. There are even some indications music can help improve vital signs, reduce pain and decrease shortness of breath.
Everyone fighting cancer needs their own playlist of songs to lift them up, inspire or simply distract on the toughest of days. To help you put together your perfect soundtrack, we asked our Mighty cancer community to share the songs that got them through. Check out the songs they picked below (at the bottom you’ll find a Spotify playlist you can save). And hey — if you listen to these songs just so you have an excuse to put on your headphones and tune out the world for a little bit, that’s totally OK, too.
Here’s what our Mighty community shared with us:
1. “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves
2. “F You” by Lily Allen
“Lily Allen’s “F*ck you”! It was kinda perfect. “F*ck you! We hate what you do, we hate your whole crew, so please don’t stay in touch!” Sung very loudly in the car.” — Kellie L.
3. “Coughing Colors” by Tilly And The Wall
“This song is just sad, and there were times that I just needed to embrace that feeling through treatment and even afterward to know that it was OK to feel that way.” — Ashley K.
4. “Still Breathing” by Green Day
5. “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia
“I like ‘Titanium’ sung by Sia, David Guetta lyrics. I can’t tell you how many times that’s come up on my playlist when I most needed it. For example, I was leaving my oncologist’s office after learning that my breast cancer has metastasized to my bones, feeling very angry, upset, whatever and that song came up. It reminds me to keep powering through this suckland of cancer.” — @lindacboberg
6. “The Fight” by Taboo
“‘The Fight’ by Taboo — added bonus is that proceeds from purchases benefit the American Cancer Society.” — Liz H.
7. “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” by P!nk
8. “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder
“I may have cancer, but it is not going to stop me from living my life!” — Michele T.
9. “Marchin On” by OneRepublic
“I listened to a lot of One Republic during my second relapse of leukemia and one song in particular that helped was ‘Marching On.’ A lot of their songs have positive vibes and they sound great so their music was really helpful!” — Sandy
10. “Far Too Young to Die” by Panic! At The Disco
“Panic! has been my favorite band since their inception, so it was no surprise I turned to their music. I’ve always said their music has met me when and where I needed it and it’s especially true with this song. I was 20 (turning 21) while going through treatment and this mini-anthem propelled me to live my life for the now, and not for the future because you don’t know how long you have.” — Ashley K.
11. “Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
12. “Get Back Up Again” by Anna Kendrick from “Trolls”
“I dare anyone to be in a sad mood after screaming this.” — Melissa J.
13. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones
“No one knows what life will throw their way; we need to make the best of all of our situations and we may find that these difficult situations teach us more about ourselves than we may ever have known.” — Michele T.
14. “Gladiator” by Zayde Wolf
15. “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
“‘I’m still Standing’ just reminds me of a mantra. No matter what I’m still standing. It always makes me want to dance.” — Melissa J.
16. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
“Got my 4-year-old now 7-year-old through two relapses and a stem cell transplant.” — Nicole O.
17. “Don’t Give Up On Me” by Andy Grammar
18. “Overcomer” by Mandisa
“‘Overcomer’ reminds me how far I have come. Which is why I have it on my mom’s playlist right now. A reminder that she is also an overcomer and she can stay in the fight to the final round.” — Melissa J.
19. “Wild Heart” by Bleachers
To listen to all these songs, check out our playlist on Spotify:
Want more songs to add to your playlists? Check out these lists of tunes that inspire people going through a variety of health challenges:
- 21 Songs People With Anxiety and Depression Recommend
- 16 Songs That Have Helped People With Chronic Illnesses Through a Tough Time
- 20 Lines From Songs That Describe the Cancer Experience