Cancer is a four-letter word, if you know what I mean.
Everyone’s life has been touched by cancer in some way, and I think every person knows someone who has passed from it.
It may have even happened in your close family, as it has with ours.
Music can’t solve the emotional and physical damage this horrible disease causes, but it can help with healing in some ways.
Music lovers know the power it has to help people through tough times.
With this in mind, here are my picks for some songs about fighting cancer, living through cancer, and loving through cancer.
I hope they help you as they have helped many others.
Table of Contents
“Mission” by Lupe Fiasco
Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco explicitly wrote “Mission” as an inspirational anthem for cancer survivors.
The lyrics include stories from cancer survivors and their loved ones, including inspiring lines such as, “that’s what champions are made for.”
Fiasco also features survivors themselves on the song’s intro and collaborated with cancer survivor Charlie Wilson.
“Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine
Although “Shake It Out” by indie rockers Florence + the Machine is not explicitly about beating cancer, its inspiring message of fighting back and shaking off the negative things in life can apply to many situations, including cancer fights.
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Speaking of shaking things off, the most famous song on this subject probably comes from pop icon Taylor Swift.
Although Taylor’s song is about shaking off stereotypes about her, it’s inspiring for any situation when something’s trying to get you down (and it’s fun and upbeat to break up the fear and tragedy of a cancer diagnosis).
“Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys’ inspiring bop is about not letting anyone get you down, and it applies to cancer diagnoses as well.
Plus, the soaring heights of her voice will take you above your every day worries.
“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
Never underestimate the power of a power ballad. Even when it feels as if the situation around you is hopeless, this song from Journey encourages you to keep believing.
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
There’s a reason why “Eye of the Tiger” is a favorite of movie training montages. This inspirational, upbeat 1980s power ballad will make you feel like the strongest person in the world, even during treatment.
“Make It Go Away (Radiation Song)” by Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is a cancer survivor herself and wrote this song to speak to fellow survivors. Although the song is honest about the despair and sadness that a diagnosis inspires, it still offers hope and shows cancer survivors that they are seen.
“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
“Survivor” by the powerful girl group Destiny’s Child is another song about not letting life’s circumstances get you down, even if it’s not cancer-specific.
“3 AM” by Matchbox Twenty
You may not have thought of Matchbox Twenty since the 2000s, but this powerful song holds up. Singer Rob Thomas wrote it while helping his mother navigate her cancer diagnosis, and he holds on to the sentiment that it will all go away.
“Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara
Young songstress Alessia Cara knows that your scars make you beautiful. Your scars will show how powerful you were in the face of a cancer diagnosis.
This song is also featured on our list of the best school-appropriate songs for students.
“Until it Sleeps” by Metallica
Metallica’s “Until It Sleeps” has a sad backstory, as it is about the singer’s mother who passed away due to cancer, but it shows just how much love surrounds a cancer patient.
“Perseverance” by Hatebreed
Sometimes you just need a high-octane song that gives you permission to be angry. Metal rockers Hatebreed deliver with their screamed, motivational message in “Perseverance.”
“Keep Breathing” by Ingrid Michaelson
Sometimes, you just need a push to get to that next breath. This loving ballad from Ingrid Michaelson can help you in those toughest moments.
“Fireflies” by Owl City
This song can help you remember that there are beautiful things still in the world, even when you are battling cancer.
“Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw
This powerful country song about seizing every day as it comes will push you to fight for every minute of life you can get.
“Let It Be” by The Beatles
“Let It Be” by The Beatles is one of the most soothing songs in their discography. It will encourage you to let go of the bad feelings and bring calm even on the toughest days.
“I’m Gonna Love You Through It” by Martina McBride
Martina McBride’s song is an anthem for caregivers everywhere, and it speaks to the power of the love that surrounds patients as they get through their battles.
“This Is Me” by Keala Settle
This Oscar-nominated ballad about staying yourself unapologetically will remind you what you are fighting for and that you are more than your diagnosis.
“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty
Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” may not be as flashy or aggressive as other rock songs about fighting back, but it is full of serene confidence that, ultimately, you will prevail against whatever challenges life throws at you.
“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
Rachel Platten’s now-classic power ballad may not have any direct ties to the battle against cancer, but listening to her voice soar and the inspiring lyrics about fighting through anything is applicable to a cancer battle.
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
American Idol icon Kelly Clarkson delivers a rousing anthem for any situation, including a cancer battle, about self-reliance and learning to trust in your own strength.
“Rise Up” by Andra Day
Andra Day, whose pipes are strong enough that she got to play Billie Holiday in a movie, delivers a powerhouse anthem to not letting life get you down.
“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
Even men can get inspired by Helen Reddy’s powerhouse ballad about coming back from challenges even stronger than before, although her title speaks specifically to the battles women face (probably why this song is a favorite among breast cancer survivors).
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye’s powerhouse song may have been about an unstoppable love between two people, but the strong message is inspiring for anyone that feels as if life has placed a mountain in front of them.
“Clouds” by Zach Sobiech
Zach Sobiech, an osteosarcoma patient, wrote this song about not giving up in the face of his cancer diagnosis.
“Fight Like A Girl” by Anita Cochran
Many people use “fighting like a girl” as an insult, but as Anita Cochran wrote in this song about beating breast cancer, girls and women fighting cancer are some of the strongest fighters around.
“I Run for Life” by Melissa Etheridge
American singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge knows a thing or two about beating cancer as a breast cancer survivor herself. Her song was one of the first to openly talk about beating cancer.
“Scar” by Carly Simon
Carly Simon is another famous breast cancer survivor, and she wrote this song to reframe how she looked at her scars, physical and mental, from her cancer battle and to see them as a sign of strength.
“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
This upbeat Beatles song is all about waiting for the sun to come out, even when it feels as if dark days are here forever.
“Last Hope” by Paramore
American emo legends Paramore delivers this inspirational song about holding onto hope, even when things feel impossible, a perfect metaphor for fighting against cancer.
“Till I Collapse” by Eminem
Another favorite of the inspirational movie montage, “Till I Collapse,” is about not giving up until you use up all of your strength.
“Fighting My Way Back” by Thin Lizzy
Irish rockers Thin Lizzy deliver this song about never giving up, even after life knocks you down a time or two.
“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
Pop diva Christina Aguilera’s powerhouse vocals drive home this message of fighting through challenges that pop up in your path.
“It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi
New Jersey power rockers Bon Jovi have plenty of inspirational songs, but this powerful song about going your own way in life, no matter what, inspires listeners to never give up.
“Firework” by Katy Perry
Sometimes you need an upbeat pop standard to keep you going, and Katy Perry delivers with a bombastic song that’s as explosive as the titular fireworks and tells listeners how bright they are.