Album: The Black Parade (2006)
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  • This song is about a patient who is dying of cancer, and it is told from his perspective. The patient in the song is in terrible pain, but his primary concern is how much it hurts to leave behind his loved ones. The lyrics describe symptoms that are typical of a cancer patient, such as hair loss, chapped lips and grogginess that all result from chemotherapy treatment. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lukas - Long Island, NY
  • Twenty One Pilots recorded a version of this for a 2016 The Black Parade cover album, which features a variety of different artists. Speaking with Rock Sound magazine, TOP frontman Tyler Joseph recalled how one of the song's lyrics had a profound effect on him.

    "When we were approached about covering My Chemical Romance's 'Cancer,' I was really excited about it. But I was also kind of nervous about changing something that felt right and was so simple. The one thing that stood out to me was the lyric, 'I will not kiss you.' It's such a pure lyric, because that person's talking about their family members, like their mom and their brothers. When I first heard the song that was the line that hit me the hardest and stayed with me. So that's why I was excited to approach the song in a new way. It made me feel that I could highlight one of my favorite lyrics and then it became kind of a chorus, in a sense. Hopefully we did the song justice."
  • Songwriting is an intense experience for Gerard Way, MCR's frontman and lyricist, and sometimes his bandmates worried he was torturing himself for the sake of his art. Frank Iero, the band's rhythm guitarist, recalled in Tom Bryant's Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance: "I remember going into G's room and he had all these signs up on the wall that he had drawn and painted. They were the song titles, and there was this one big piece of paper that said 'Cancer' on it. He was so submerged in it. I remember thinking to myself, 's--t, man. I hope he's not too deep.'"

    He continued: "There were multiple times in the band's career that I would say to G, 'Hey, you know that you can just write a song? You don't have to kill yourself.' He was always like, 'Yeah, yeah, maybe I will. You're right.' But I knew what he really meant was, 'All right, whatever. Shut the f--k up.' Ultimately, you need to do what you need to do to get the best out of yourself. But I wanted him to know he had an out. I wanted him to know he was allowed to have a little bit of fun.'"
  • Rob Cavallo, who produced the album, plays piano on the track. He told biographer Bryant how the song came together: "[Gerard] said, 'Quick, come with me to the piano, sit down. He just started singing and it was really crazy. This has never happened to me before but it took maybe eight minutes to write that song. He sang, I played the piano and it was written. That was it. It just came right out. He directed me, told me what sort of chords to play and, all of a sudden, my fingers were doing the talking. I had no idea what the f--k I was doing and 'Cancer' came out eight minutes later. The engineer showed up half an hour later and we recorded it. Done."

Comments: 66

  • Caz from SheffieldI like the perspective of this song. It’s honest and candid in a really simple way. It’s how I’d imagine I would feel if I had cancer.
  • Kaleida from Another RealmWell Ed from NY, you're free to have that opinion, just as I'm free to point out the fact that the shortened version of your name, "ED" is an abbreviation for Erectile Dysfunction.
  • LaviniaThis is my fave mcr song yeah not many people have it as their fave but it’s my fave. It’s so sad and although it’s very short it still has so much emotion and feeling to it.
  • Fury from Huntsville, AlEd, you know exactly where you can shove your opinion. It might not fit though, with your head already up there and all.
  • Fury from Huntsville, AlJoeybranconi, did I read that correctly? Did you just click on an mcr song, trash talk the band, make a serious claim about the creativity of the band, and then tell the fans whose band you just dissed to actively look for evidence to support your claim because you’re too lazy? Do you even realize how insane that is?
  • Fury from Huntsville, AlSarah, quit stirring the pot and enjoy the soup. And if you don’t like to soup, find a different restaurant and quit insulting the chef in his kitchen.
  • Roxanne from England Proper hauntingly beautiful song can’t say I’m a fan of the band as I’ve never really listened to them but if there other song are anything like this I probably should I did come across the song because 21 pilots covered it. It’s now one of my favourite songs ever
  • Erin from Edinburghmy great grandmother died of cancer last year and I didn't know she had it still it was too late
  • Travis from Asheville, NcR.I.P. Dad
  • Jennifer from ScotlandIf you don't like the band so much why are you even commenting I don't like Justin Bieber but I wouldn't comment on his videos with nasty words just because I dislike him .
    Look its fine to have your opinion but to put it places for no reason other than to get fans riled up is just childish.
    MCR is a good band maybe not the best but they were a good band and their music will live on forever and their fans will relive the music by listening to it over and over.
    We wouldn't go onto all the bands you like if we didn't like them just to leave hate comments and also if you were gonna this is probably the worst song you could do it on considering its about a cancer patient and he's not saying cancer victims are disgusting he's saying it feels disgusting that people who have it feel that way. Again just ..why there's no point in it whatsoever just don't come here what's the point.
  • Chaylea from VaI cry everytime I hear it because my Grammy has terminal cancer and we are really close ;-;
  • Kelly from OhioMy friend listens to this song so much because it reminded her of the surgery she had and now I know the meaning, I understand why this song is so close to her.
  • Michelle from Murfreesboro, TnMy best friend died last year of cancer and I didn't know he had it til it was too late.
  • Olivia from Star City, ArVery good song!! Made me cry cuz my mom has cancer.
  • Rae from Buxton, NcI have a friend who had a brain tumor but it has been removed. I had a great grandfather whom I never got to meet who died of lung and skin cancer. This song brings me to tears but its a great song no matter what anyone says
  • Heather from Louisville, KyWell I am young and I do have a rare high grade aggressive sarcoma cancer and I appreciate this song because it does reflect the worst pain that cancer puts someone through. It was written thoughtfully and with much sadness and by no means is offensive to me as a cancer patient. I actually thought of this song many times when I was in the hospital because it was a reflection of how I felt. Not all music lyrics have to be about love or how hot some chick is or how bad some man is--Gerard apparently sees past all the superficial nonsense and writes as well as performs with great spirituality. So I thank you MCR.
  • M from Asdfjkl;, Ili love this song and MCR!!! the first time i heard this song i didn't really like it but i liked it a little because it is MCR. so a few months ago i listened to this song again on youtube and i totally destroyed the replay button!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    but this song reminds me of my grandpa, all though he didn't die of cancer he still had it. he died on August 31st 2011 :'( R.I.P
  • Fernando from West Covina, CaMy father died of cancer and seeing him in pain was the hardest thing to see. This song brings back so much memories and although i miss him I am glad he is not suffing anymore. This song helped me through some tuff times.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlAhhhh...I love this song so much!
  • Emily from Adelaide, Australiap.s. I love my chemical romance
  • Emily from Adelaide, AustraliaEd, York, PA- im you think the My Chemical romance is the worst band ever, no question then why are you commenting on their songs? Dont you have better things to do with your time than comment on apparently "the worst band ever" I mean you could be at least listening to their songs cause if you do you would know they are the MOST AMAZING BAND EVER, no question. so go comment on bands you do like not ones you dont cause its rude. if you dont have something nice to say then dont say anything AT ALL!
  • Shelby from Westerly, Rii LOVE this song. when i saw the video i swear i cryed. it reminded me of my youngest sister, she did the exact same thing she cut off all her hair for my brother (R.I.P)
  • Chris from Franklin Lakes, NjThis is one of the best albums of the decade. It has fast passed songs with great guitar and then it has a song like Cancer which is beatuiful and shows what MCR can really do. I wish the song didn't end it's so nice
  • Maxx from Fort Atkinson, WiMy friends grandma died from cancer around the time this song came out an I'd didn't kno that an I put it on once an it almost brought him to tears.. I just think its a good song.. Sad but good.. But I felt horrible about that:/
  • Melissa from Liverpool, United KingdomI think this song is about a person who is having a break up with somoene, and doesnt think they should be with that person and so this song is decribing the persons feelings,weak,depressed and lonesome so like having cancer and not being able to anything about it, in this case not being able to stop loving someone, I no some of you may be thinking "waaa" but I try to search deeper for the meaning.
  • Angela from Cartersville, Georgiathis song is really awesome and it show how some of us don't really know what cancer patients go through. it also shows that he's caring.
  • Carol from Toronto, OnBest song ever
    Its beautiful.
    But also quite sad. this song makes me smile when i hear it.
    But then it makes me think about all the people who have Cancer.
    it makes me wanna help them
    I adore this song ♥♥♥♥♥
  • Dakota from Okc, OkI really like MCR, but it isn't the best band out there. This is one of their better songs! Good song.
  • Laura from Columbus, OhI love this song, it's touching for me because my grandpa recently died from brain cancer he fought for over three years. I love the Black Parade as well. I hate it when people joke about cancer because it's sonmething serious you shoudln't joke about. I can imagine the pain my grandpa and others with cancer have endured, yet at the same time I can't. I could tell he didn't want to leave us, and it was hard for us to let him go, so in a way, these two songs are my way of remembering him. Thanks MCR! ~
  • Larissa from Blue Mountains, Australiathey wrote the song because theyve met alot of terminally ill fans over the past couple of years. he was inspired, and had to write it.

    hes not saying that its disgusting to have cacer, just that its the way it feels. i cant imagine how it would feel, but i bet its not the best feeling...
  • Jessica from Columbus, InI don't care what all you other people say. MCR is a fantastic band. They are one of my favorites. Anyway, Cancer is a great song so matter how you look at it. Whether they are using cancer as a metaphor or not is of no concern of mine. Or of any of us. They may write whatever the Hell they choose. Besides, I think the song is very good and enjoyable to listen to. Not that I get off on sad songs or anything like that, but I really like it.
  • Rob from Sydney, AustraliaThis album was written by the band as a rock opeara. This doesn't mean every song is about some fictional characters story, only that it fits into the theme and story. Our band has heaps of songs people automatically assume are about girls, broken hearts ect, that are really about relationships between family members, or friends or even different band members, management ect. But write it using a guy/girl relationship as a metophor, and suddenly it suits an album, or style, an awful lot better. I figured this song used cancer as an meterphor for something, maybe touring, comittments, addictions, ect, and the effect it has on those around the "victim". And the way it was written allowed it to fit seemlessly into the "opera" without sounding out of place. Allowing them to write about how they feel, without sounding odd on the album. Im not condoning using cancer as metophor, but its well feesable. Imagine the bass player (i dont know his name im not a massive fan of the band) who according to an interview i read in a guitar mag, left the band (I dont know if its permanent or not, or even if its accuarate, nor do I really care, this is an example.) to get married. Imaine you met the love of your life, then had to leave her home why the band went on tour (and yes, ive been there, its hard to play shows every night when your heads 000's of kms away.) That band/tour can suddenly become like a cancer on the relationship thats become so important in your life. Anyway thats just a thought, I only came on here cause I gave my interperation to some musical friends the other night and they said "well obviously its a metophor" I was just curious what the rest of the world thought. Cheers.
  • Jade from Cancun, Mexicoi dont think that its wrong to write about someone else having cancer but he talked about how disgusting he was for having it, and its not right. its like men complaining about being pregnant, you dont understand unless YOU personally go through it
  • Nikki from Blackfoot, Idi hate the first comment!! what if he wanted to write about other people w/ the cancer.
  • Jade from Cancun, Mexicoim not really a mexican i just couldnt find the US in the choices.....just so you know-when i first heard this song i thought it was amazing! BUT then i found out gerard doesnt have cancer!!!!!!! he had no right to right this song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Maan from Philippines, Philippinesi dont care if some people hate this band...but for me they are cool...
  • Maan from Philippines, Philippinesmcr is the best band ive ever seen, and there song cancer was a very very,inspirational song i love it...
  • Lisa from Bristol, United KingdomI really don't understand how people can get confused by the meaning of this song. The whole album was based around the concept that was directly covered in this song. It is about a patient who is dying from Cancer. It covers his experiences through his life (and death) and what he feels. The song 'Cancer' shows how he is going to miss his family and that he is fed up of the treatment that he has been through. I love this song. It made me cry the first time I heard it :(
  • Lisa from Bristol, United KingdomI really don't understand how people can get confused by the meaning of this song. The whole album was based around the concept that was directly covered in this song. It is about a patient who is dying from Cancer. It covers his experiences through his life (and death) and what he feels. The song 'Cancer' shows how he is going to miss his family and that he is fed up of the treatment that he has been through. I love this song. It made me cry the first time I heard it :(
  • Sarah from La, CaTo Lora from Manhatton, NY, First of all freedom of Speech. Second, is MCR is not a good rock band, If you ever want to hear an INCREDABLE rock band listen to BREAKING BENJAMIN!!!♥♥
    PS-- Thank you Ed, York, PA and Joeybranconi, Philly, PA =)
  • Lora from Manhatton, NyI love MCR. They rock. and for the people who right bad things about them, why are on a web site about there songs if you don't like them?
  • Hannah from Hampshire, EnglandJoey from Philly - Are you deeply confused? Why do you think the album is a rip off of The Wall? I think the song you are relating to The Trial is Mama which has the same old fashioned feel but apart from that there ain't that many similarites. And even if this song was similar to the Trial so what, the rest of the album is nothing like the wall. My Dad has raised me listining to Pink Floyd since the day I was born and this song does not remind me of any Pink Floyd album ever! And anyways if you hate My Chemical Romance so much why have you wasted your valuable time looking up this song to tell everyone you hate them. No one cares. This forum is for people who want to intelligent conversations about lyrical meanings not slag off other bands!
  • Z from Somewhere Over The Rainbow, WaI think that in this song someone that 'The Patient' loves dearly is the one singing this song. I think that it might be 'The Patient's' sister because in 'Mama' I think he's kind of mocking her, a bit, when he sings 'You should have raised a baby girl, I should have been a better son.' because, maybe, his sister died from cancer.
    My aunt died from cancer and I know so many people who have/had cancer, it's a bit depressing. I love this song and it makes me really want to do something. This song is beautiful without a single doubt.
  • Donna from Columbus, OhThis song is close to my heart. My husband Cleve died after a 3 1/2 year battle with colon cancer. I deeply love this song and it is soooo true.
  • Morphine from London, EnglandGerard hasn't had Cancer.
    Gerard is amazing.

    I met him Wednesday, November 14th 2007

    And the next day i saw MCR play live at the 02
  • Amber from Outer Banks, NcI LOVE THIS SONG! I think this song is amazing it shows good emotion :] Great job guys.
  • Bella from Fu**erton, CaThe Patient, the protagonist of this whole story, is sick in a hospital bed with cancer. He's dying. That's all there really is to this song. Gerard does not, did not have cancer: he cut his hair and bleached it because to him white symbolizes "the abscence of life".
  • V-starr from ?????????, MiWhy they wrote this song? I don't know, maybe to go with the story of the album. The Black Parade is about someone dieing with cancer. Lead singer Gerard Way beleaves that death comes in the form of your most powerful mermory, which to the Patient is a parade his dad took him to see when he was younger. So death comes at him in the form of a parade. Its a beautiful song and its hard to keep tears in. (But I listened to this song too much one bad day. I wish I could cry again to this song.)
  • Joeybranconi from Philly, PaI think that MCR is without doubt, the worst band ever. The Black Parade is a total copy off of the style of Pink Floyd's The Wall. One of the song off of The Black Parade (i just forget what one) sounds like The Trial from The Wall. If Someone knows what song it is, please tell me. I would find out for myself, but i dont want to listen to the worst album ever!
  • Laura from -I went to see My Chemical Romance in Sheffield on 13th November. Didn't seem like he had brain cancer to me. Get your facts right. This song is so beautiful and sad, it's one of those ones you have to stop and listen to if it comes on on your music player or whatever, it makes you think everytime.
  • Emma from Stockholm, SwedenOMG, this is one of the best songs ever. Does anyone know WHY mcr wrote this song?
  • Jeanne from Johannesburg, South AfricaThis is such an amazingly, truthfully, shockingly sad - yet BEAUTIFUL song... It really gets you - or YOU really get It - because its so ... blunt. Deals with the issue as it is, no running around and hiding behind hyperboles and metaphors. Its so ... real! And anyone who criticisez MCR can get stuffed in a fluffy bunny outfit and jump in a vat of acid... =D
  • Montana from St. Petersburg, FlTHE HELL W/ FIRST COMMENT!
  • Rach from Toronto, Canadai love the song cause its so tuthfull i have only started lisening to mcr in last couple of monthes i love cancer its amazing if you have never done it go on to youtube and search cancer mcr and find one of the many live versions of the song only acompeined by piano and a little bit of drum kit
  • Alexx from Las Vegas, NvI was pretty shocked the first time I heard this song at how beautiful it was. Most MCR music, though I love it, is rather heavy in the guitars. But to know that Gerard can sing that beautifully is amazing.
  • Brittany from Las Vegas, Nvi defenetly think this is the best mcr song out there because its such a beautiful song it could make anybody cry especially thoes like me who has a family member with or dying of cancer.its so weird cuz it puts you in a place where you dont want to be and sets all these feelings that you know you dont want to feel but cant help to feel them its that good so thanx mcr for having such a great song like the other and for being such an awsome band
  • Chelsey from Patton, do realize that Gerard does NOT have Brain Cancer becasue if he did do u really honestly think that he would still be trveling around doing tours and what not....NO I DON'T THINK SO!! and he also CUT his hair....just thought I'd throw that out there
  • Amelia from Central Coast, Australiayou do realise that Gerard wrote this about himself, he has brain cancer.
    thats why hi hair is short
  • Aleah from New Kensington, Sc This song is beautiful. It's so original and pure.
  • Samantha from London, EnglandAs much as i dislike MCR this song i beautiful but haunting. Th elyrics re pretty straight forward to understand. It makes me cry and think how lucky i am.
  • Ed from York, PaMCR is the worst band ever, no question
  • Erin from Edm, United StatesThis song is really sad. But it's one of my favourite songs off the album.
  • Carol from Chesterton, Inthis song is so beautiful, it reminds me of the people i have loved and lost to cancer
  • Michael from Annapolis , Mei think this song actally comes beofore welcome to the black parade and this is the song from "the patients" perspective
  • Collin from Portsmouth, VaYeah, I mean that's not hard to figure out.
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