Cancer Personality Traits & Characteristics

Cancers may have a protective and tough outer shell, but underneath they are sensitive and emotional souls. These are Cancer's key qualities.

Updated November 28, 2023
Cancer woman on the street

You know that complicated friend you have that feels all the feels all the time? They're probably a Cancer. It's true that water sign Cancer is one of the moodiest and most sensitive signs of the zodiac, but Cancer's personality traits go far beyond all the emotional energy that's hidden under a protective shell. Get to know Cancer qualities and see what makes them tick. 

Cancer Overview

Here's the skinny on everyone's favorite crab.

Cancer dates: 6/22-7/22

Element: Water

Aspect: Cardinal

Planetary ruler: Moon

Symbol: The Crab ♋

Color(s): White, silver

Most compatible signs: Taurus, Virgo, & Capricorn

Love language: Acts of service

Cancer's Traits

 Cancer is well-known for having a hard outer shell with all kinds of soft-hearted emotions underneath. Sure, Cancers are sensitive, but they're tough, too. Cancer is the moodiest sign thanks to the influence of the Moon, and they feel everything deeply. This can lead to a number of positive and negative traits.

Cancer Personality Traits

Cancer's Positive Traits

Loving and sensitive Cancers have many positive traits.

  • Nurturing
  • Protective
  • Affectionate
  • Imaginative
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Dependable
  • Proactive
  • Homebody
  • Loyal
  • Caring
  • Observant

Cancer's Negative Traits

Pink Floyd reminded us that there's a dark side of the moon. And like their ruling planet, Cancers have a dark side, too.

  • Moody
  • Pessimistic
  • Clingy
  • Worrier
  • Obsessive
  • Manipulative
  • Overly cautious
  • Evasive
  • Possessive
  • Lazy
  • Suspicious
  • Aggressive

8 Key Cancer Characteristics

If you were born between June 22 and July 22, chances are you'll have some form of all these key Cancer qualities. 


The tender-hearted trait that's so prominent in Cancer is often misunderstood. Cancers find it challenging to communicate what they're feeling. To complicate matters, they can shut down all emotional responses when hurt. Though they may seem emotionally immature to some, most of the time, it's merely that they have an emotionally sensitive nature.

Artistic and Creative

Cancers tend to have a strong creative force that involves them with the arts in some capacity, such as writing or poetry. They enjoy expressing themselves creatively and sharing their creations with others.


If you ever fall from Cancer's good graces, you may never be forgiven. You may not even know what you said or did, but one thing is sure: when that door slams behind you, it will probably never be opened again. You could spend years replaying your last conversation to understand what went wrong but don't bother. You can never unravel the complexity of Cancer's emotional makeup.

Family Oriented & Devoted Parents

family at home

The family that Cancer creates will receive undying loyalty and dedication. Cancers are capable of great love. But first, they must learn how to give it. Once they do, their family will blossom under their nurturing.

Cancers are very proud of their children and see them as an extension of themselves. They teach them good manners and social mores, and they expect them to be just as well-behaved in private as they are in public. They'll move mountains to see that their children have what they need and, in many cases, will lavish them with material gifts.


One of Cancer's more challenging personality traits is they can become resentful and petulant rather quickly. If a Cancer feels they've been slighted in some way (whether real or imagined), they can let the resentment build up inside until it finally explodes. The trouble is that nearly anything can make them feel resentful. It's difficult to always please a Cancer. The best you can do is wait until they snap out of it and return to normal.


Cancers are very attached to their homes. They consider their homes their retreat. Like hermit crabs, they can't survive without a home to call their own. Home keeps them grounded and makes them feel safe. Cancers will spend a lot of money decorating their homes and filling it with all the things that give them comfort and make them feel secure.

Fearful of Rejection

Cancers need to express their feelings without fear of rebuke. They're deathly afraid of being rejected, so if they feel that there's even the slightest chance that will happen, they'll immediately pull back into their shells.

Excellent Worker and Provider

Cancers are excellent providers and diligent workers. They work best when left on their own without being micro-managed. Most Cancers treat their jobs much the same way they do their homes. They are protective of their job status and often hold managerial positions. They expect loyalty, and they treat their employees like family. Cancers will give a sympathetic ear to a co-worker as long as the problem doesn't threaten their own job security.

Physical Characteristics of Cancer

With rounded faces that resemble their ruling planet, Cancers often look younger than their years with soft, youthful features and bright eyes. Because of their physical appearance, many people assume they are innocent or guileless. 

Cancer's Relationship Traits

loving couple

In relationships, Cancers need somebody who can roll with their moods and provide a steady, loving presence. As homebodies, they need a partner who is similarly inclined. In a relationship, Cancers may display the following traits. 

  • They fall in love quickly. 
  • They're deeply devoted to their partner and family.
  • They can be easily hurt and slow to forgive.
  • They're not afraid to commit and sometimes rush in too quickly. 
  • Cancers put their all into their relationship. 
  • Some partners may find Cancer too clingy or needy.
  • They're very physically affectionate with their partner. 
  • Cancers are willing to work hard to make their relationship last and will take extraordinary measures to resolve issues. 

Cancer Career Traits

As creative and sensitive souls, Cancers are well suited for a number of careers and fields.

  • Education
  • Writing and publishing
  • Nursing & health care
  • Counseling & social work
  • Design & decor
  • Visual arts
  • Hospitality
  • Childcare
  • Alternative healing
  • Real estate
  • Public service & non-profits

Eminent Cancers

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) sitting on a step at her home, Highgrove House, in Doughton, Gloucestershire, 18th July 1986. (

Many well-known people were born under the sign of Cancer.   

  • Malala Yousafzai (7/12/97)
  • Tom Cruise (7/3/62)
  • Meryl Streep (7/22/49)
  • Selena Gomez (7/22/92)
  • Robin Williams (7/21/51)
  • Patrick Stewart (7/13/40)
  • Frida Kahlo (7/6/1907)
  • Diana, Princess of Wales (7/1/61)

Getting to Know Cancer

All the various characteristics of Cancer can make these people quite a handful to deal with, but given their loving hearts and nurturing souls, the effort is worthwhile. When you let a Cancer into your life, you've found a devoted and kind friend, partner, coworker, or family member who will stick with you through thick and thin. 

Cancer - discover what the week has in store for you with your weekly horoscope.

Trending on LoveToKnow
Cancer Personality Traits & Characteristics