“Let’s Stop Talking about Battling Cancer” (and Death)

Let's Stop Talking about "Battling Cancer"

In her opinion piece for the Scientific American, Dr. Shika Jain makes the valuable point that the binary rhetoric of “combat” is often not useful, and may be actively harmful, to cancer patients and their families:

Unfortunately, cancer is not an opponent that can stomped out by sheer will, determination or persistence. A study published in 2015 by scientists from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center concluded that 66 percent of the variation in adult cancer risk across tissues can be explained by “bad luck,” and are beyond anyone’s control. The metaphor of a “battle” does not consider the such randomness.

Much the same observations can be made regarding death from any natural cause. There is an excellent reason why humans don’t “fight” with grizzly bears.

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