If cancer survivors are heroes where does that leave the people who die?

If cancer survivors are heroes where does that leave the people who die?

In this blog, Andrew Graystone makes some interesting points about the way we talk about cancer. For instance, I had no idea that it was Richard Nixon who turned cancer from a shameful secret into a very public war.

Like Andrew, I feel uncomfortable with the battle analogy but for slightly different reasons. While he doesn’t necessarily want to turn his body into a war zone, I hate the implication that, if you die, it was because you didn’t fight well enough. One of my closest friends died from breast cancer soon after I finished my treatment, not because she didn’t fight hard enough but because she happened to have a form of the disease that was virtually impossible to treat.

Of course cancer survivors have good reason to celebrate. My concern is that, by positioning them as battle-scarred heroes, we’re creating the subtext that, if you die, you’ve only yourself to blame.