The sentence is: "It has been 2 years since my diagnosis of/with cancer".

Which is correct, "diagnosis of" or "diagnosis with" cancer? The meaning i want is: "It has been 2 years since I was diagnosed with cancer."

My impression is that "diagnosis of" implies the speaker is the person who performed the diagnosis (i.e. the doctor), while "diagnosis with" implies the speaker was the person who was diagnosed (i.e. the patient).


  • 1
    What's wrong with "I was diagnosed with"? That's the most natural phrasing.
    – Kevin
    Jan 12, 2015 at 6:23
  • The doctor does diagnose things. That's the verb. "She diagnosed my lupus." active. "I was diagnosed with lupus." Passive. Whichever sounds better should be used. "I was diagnosed with cancer" sounds best. "My cancer was diagnosed 2 years ago." "I received the diagnosis (noun) of cancer two years ago" is correct as well, but sounds slightly formal/contrived. Jan 12, 2015 at 6:29
  • "my diagnosis" cannot take the preposition of here, or it would give quite a different meaning. Use with instead. However, it's better to rephrase, because "my being diagnosed with" is what is really intended to be conveyed here.
    – Kris
    Jan 12, 2015 at 6:52
  • 2
    @Kris - according to whom? "In the two and a half years since her diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment at age 78, the woman learned..." New York Times. You should write a letter to the editor if you know something the writer doesn't. It appears often enough. Jan 12, 2015 at 7:07
  • 2
    I have compared them, and find the only difference to be the use of "her" VS "my". How does this differ in semantics or pragmatics? Jan 12, 2015 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


Of for the diagnosis, in terms of the person diagnosed or diagnosing. With for diagnosed in relation to the patient, and no preposition otherwise.

It has been 2 years since my doctor diagnosed cancer.

It has been 2 years since I was diagnosed with cancer.

It has been 2 years since my doctor diagnosed me with cancer. ["… as having cancer" would be common too]

It has been 2 years since my diagnosis of cancer.

It has been 2 years since my doctor's diagnosis of cancer.

  • 1
    You could even omit the of for the diagnosis entirely: "It has been 2 years since my cancer diagnosis."
    – blgt
    Jan 12, 2015 at 12:51
  • Smart devices will let us monitor our health constantly and help doctors speed their diagnoses Jan 12, 2015 at 13:28
  • Jon, the only thing YOU can be diagnosed as, is homo-sapiens. It is not you that gets "diagnosed" - it is your beri-beri which is diagnosed. Your illness can be diagnosed WITH a stethoscope, and your car's blocked carburettor can be diagnosed WITH a spanner (nowadays with an electronic diagnostic kit, I assume). but it is not you nor your car which is diagnosed - it is the cause of the malfunction which is diagnosed.
    – WS2
    Aug 20, 2017 at 14:05

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