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It's Nixon's fault!



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It's Nixon's fault!

Post by Kitkat on Tue 19 Nov 2013 - 23:42

Ever noticed how cancer is always referred to as a "battle", a "fight", a "war" ... reference is giving to people losing their battle with cancer when they pass, or having "won the battle" after struggling etc, or "survived" the battle when in remission?

This has always been a particular peeve of mine, having been through two bouts of breast cancer and the ensuing treatments, and come out the other side ... I've never felt comfortable with this description of what those with cancer are going through.  Far better, to my mind, to use the term "living with cancer", and that's what I've always tried to get through to people in my own circle.  The "battling" term is never used around me by those in the know - and that includes the oncologists and medics and anyone else involved.

Well, according to this recent news article, it is Richard Nixon that is responsible for attributing the term so widely used all over.

For 40 years the language of warfare has dominated cancer discourse.

We have given cancer a personality and made an enemy of it, so that today it's commonplace to speak about battling cancer, fighting cancer, even kicking cancer. Oncologists are painted as heroic warriors, the SAS of the medical world - sometimes fighting hand to hand with scalpels, sometimes using lasers, ray guns and chemical weapons.
and it was John Wayne that first coined the phrase "the Big C" (another peeve of mine, where people are so reluctant to use "the word"!

I like the way the author of the article has described their own cancer experience:

"Eventually the time came to invite my cancer to leave. She has left the place in a bit of a mess, and I'm conscious that she has kept the key. Still I'm hopeful that in due course all I will be left with is the rich memory of time spent with a stranger I never expected to meet."
ETA: Actually, on re-reading ... those are the words of St Francis of Assisi. I missed out this bit:
St Francis of Assisi - who had long-term illness himself - is said to have spoken about Sister Illness. He embraced his illness like a family member. For me, cancer arrived as an unwelcome lodger, parking itself in the back room and demanding attention. For three years I tried to be a courteous if unwilling host.

    Current date/time is Thu 17 Aug 2017 - 12:29