Yet again, the Guardian has an excellent piece here on how unhelpful – or even harmful – the battle terminology is for many people when referring to cancer. Ian Sample, Science Editor and the author of the piece, quotes a mother of two living with metastatic, incurable breast cancer:
“You feel like you’re letting people down if you can’t manage permanent positivity or you have an emotionally wobbly day. It’s not constructive or helpful when you’re focusing on getting through the day-to-day living of a cancer diagnosis and treatment schedule. I prefer clear, factual language, so I describe myself as “living” with incurable cancer. I’m not brave or inspirational, I’m just trying to live the life I have left well.”
Here at Cancer Support Basel we have members who are living with cancer. Our job is to celebrate and support them. Let’s ditch the battle-speak, with its inevitable implications of winners and losers. (Is this language just another example of the patriarchy at work? I wonder how many women feel comfortable with this violent, warring terminology?) It’s time to push back against the talk about ‘fighting’, ‘beating’ or ‘battling with’ cancer, whether in our own everyday usage or – as is often the case – in ad campaigns by fundraisers. (“Your support will help us beat cancer”, Cancer Research UK; Susan Komen, “the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer”, etc. etc.)
For information on when and where our next meeting will be held, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to send details.
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