Movies about cancer have been popular for over a century, but there are some standouts among the pack. We’ve sorted the best movies about cancer into categories — from dramas to documentaries — so you can find what you like best.
Movies about Cancer
1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
This drama features a young woman battling cancer for years, experiencing a new relationship that helps her forget, if only for a while, that she’s dying. She attends a cancer support group where she meets a guy who also has cancer. They grow closer as they both face the prospect of dying from their illnesses. The movie is based on the novel by John Green and stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Laura Dern.
2. After Everything (2018)
The drama movie features Elliot, a young man who has to learn to live with his strongest emotion in the form of physical and mental pain that comes from the complications resulting from his fight against cancer. He soon falls in love with a girl (Mia) who helps him deal with his condition.
3. Patch Adams (1998)
Patch Adams is a documentary about the life and career of famous funnyman Patch Adams (Robin Williams). The comedy movie follows his life and his humorous attempt to use humor to help people with severe illnesses like cancer. The medical community isn’t impressed, but the movie’s mix of humor and humanity is appealing to many of us.
4. Paddleton (2019)
This drama movie features two neighbors, Mark Duplass and Ray Romano, who develop a bond over their struggles with terminal cancer. The movie is directed by Aaron Katz and features Mark Duplass and Ray Romano. The story follows the life of Lou (Ray Romano), a terminal patient who finds himself in friendship with Paddleton (Mark Duplass), another patient whom he reconnects with during his illness. The story takes an unexpected turn when they make a pact to take an adventure together before Lou’s imminent death.
5. The Bucket List (2007)
Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, and Sean Hayes, The Bucket List is a comedy-drama about an older man with cancer who decides to make a list of things. One last year of his life sees him attempt numerous dangerous things before dying at age 70. Rob Reiner directs this adventure/comedy-drama.
6. 50/50 (2011)
This comedy/romance movie features characters like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a 27-year-old diagnosed with cancer while his girlfriend dumps him. The movie follows his first year of treatment and all of the ups and downs he goes through. With his ailments, he learns a lot about life and love.
7. Now Is Good (2012)
The romance/drama movie tells the story of a teenage girl diagnosed with cancer who escapes cancer treatments by running away from home for a life of adventure. The girl has a list of things she wants to do before she dies, which she accomplishes with the help of her best friend, a boy. The main characters are Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine.
8. One True Thing (1998)
One true thing is the drama film directed by one of the most famous American actresses, Meryl Streep. The movie is based on a novel by Anna Quindlen and features Renee Zellweger, William Hurt, and Tom Hulce. It is about a 17-year-old girl trying to help her mother battling cancer.
9. Griffin and Phoenix (2006)
Starring Dermot Mulroney and Amanda Peet, this romance/drama film tells the story of a young man battling cancer and his relationship with his cancer-stricken mother. This discovery while fighting his disease helps him learn more about his past and make life-altering decisions.
10. Dying Young (1991)
This romance/drama movie starring Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott is about a young man who struggles with the idea of dying after being diagnosed with leukemia. The movie shows his decision to spend his remaining time in the arms of his new love. With his chemotherapy treatments failing and his death a certainty, he decides to give up treatments and enjoy one final summer with a woman he is falling in love with.
The above movies are designed to help people cope with the disease, while others are made to draw attention to the need for funding to find a cure. Therefore if you are looking for a movie about cancer, perhaps one of the above would be a good choice.