Sunday, 3 January 2010

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


  1. And now I've wandered over here... I *really* should be revising.

    I certainly understand your sentiments and remember reading this article when it came out but you can't deny that positive thinking can have a very beneficial effect on healing. I know that there are studies out there confirming this. Ben Goldacre described one recently where there was more of a drug in the system of a test subject that had been told they'd been given the drug (and been given it) than in a test subject who'd been told they'd been given a placebo (but had also been given the drug).

  2. Can you link that article? I'm guessing they were more relaxed and so possibly metabolised the drug slower, but untill i see it i'm just guessing. Let me know how your exams go

  3. Urgh, I knew you were going to ask that. Unfortunately, I heard it in his segment at Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at the end of last year and can't remember enough of the details to be able to successfully Google it. But I believe that it's being broadcast BBC4 23rd January: 9:45pm (ish) so hopefully it'll be in that.

  4. Found it! (Finally watched the programme!)

    Dunno if you can pull the full abstract.

    And here's Ben talking about it *reaaaalllly* fast! :