Can gute Besserung be said for someone who’s fighting cancer? Or is it just for illnesses that are not life-threatening such as flu?

Does an acceptable alternative to gute Besserung exist for life-threatening illnesses?

  • 5
    Maybe you can say 'Ich wünsche dir viel Kraft' Feb 23 '17 at 22:33
  • Wieso willst Du nicht gute Besserung sagen? Feb 24 '17 at 4:17
  • 1
    @userunknown sorry I write in English but I understand spoken and writen German. Because I feel gute Besserung is too soft for something like cancer. Feb 24 '17 at 6:27
  • 2
    Gute Besserung is a wish, that the person will have a better condition than what they have at the moment. I think it is not soft or hard. It is just a wish. Feb 24 '17 at 8:24
  • @Tom-Oliver Heidel, write this as an answer and you'll get +1
    – Iris
    Feb 24 '17 at 10:14

In the sense of »Halt die Ohren steif!« you could say

Lass dich nicht kleinkriegen!


Lass dich nicht unterkriegen!

meaning »don't lose heart«.


The wish “Gute Besserung” should only be used for ills that have realistic probability of going away. Or at least become better in the foreseeable future (usually a few days or weeks).

It should not be used for chronic diseases. Otherwise it can easily sound sarcastic, such as someone jumping from a cliff and you wish them a nice flight.

  • 2
    This is not a full answer for my question as I also need an alternative. Feb 23 '17 at 22:34

You could say "Gute Genesung". Means the same.

  • 3
    Eine ausführlichere Antwort wäre wünschenswert. Vor allem, da nicht nach Synonymen gefragt ist, sondern nach der Angemessenheit des Ausdrucks.
    – Kristina
    Feb 24 '17 at 15:21

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