She/He fought the cancer bravely and thats what helped her through it. I remember my mum said something like this when discussing a family friend who had a brush with cancer. I was reminded of this when I saw this article
Although my mums comment was a harmless one, she was grateful the person in question was ok, the sentiments mentioned in the above article are actually quite insidious.
"She fought the cancer bravely." is a common phrase. What does this mean? Its horrible, because it implies that those people who died because of cancer did not fight hard enough. That they didn't really want to live, its there own fault it took there lives. It ignores the fact that cancer is still a deadly disease, the mechanisms of which we barely understand
Keeping a positive attitude can be helpful, not because it will help you fight the disease but it can help people deal the disease and come to terms with it