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 '15 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. – anongoodnurse Jan 12 '15 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 '15 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. – anongoodnurse Jan 12 '15 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? – Brian Hitchcock Jan 12 '15 at 7:52

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 '15 at 12:51
  • Smart devices will let us monitor our health constantly and help doctors speed their diagnoses – weakphoneme Jan 12 '15 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 '17 at 14:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.