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Battle Language

Most of us could talk all day about the terminology we find acceptable when it comes to living with cancer and everyone's responses would be different.

It can be difficult navigating a conversation with someone who has been given a major spoiler alert on how their life is expected to end. However, I think there are certain terms/phrases we can all agree are unacceptable, over used and in some cases, quite ridiculous.


The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to the personification of the big 'C.' A super villain that goes undetected until we stumble upon it and thus begins the 'fight.' We're given our armour, our shield, labelled 'warriors' and head into battle where only the strongest shall survive.


Only, we don't actually. We get given a medical team, a plan and we head into hospital to receive treatment and cross our fingers and hope with all our might that it works. No fighting, no weaponry, no survival of the fittest; this isn't the Hunger Games.


This battle language has somehow become the norm, but we're so tired of hearing it when we're dealing with something that is completely out of our hands.

We already feel guilty for having cancer; for putting our families through this. Forever.

Every time you tell us to 'keep strong' or 'keep fighting' you put immense pressure on our shoulders to 'beat' the unbeatable and control the uncontrollable.


How are we supposed to feel when the cancer comes back or continues to progress?

We feel like the failures of the cancer club.


We feel like the cancer losers because we cannot win.


And to put the final nail in the coffin (no pun intended), once we die it's announced that we 'lost the battle'.


There are people who have/had cancer that were able to reach a remission and there are people that aren't. Some are extremely lucky to have caught their cancer early, some are extremely lucky to have incurable cancer that's responding well to treatment, some haven't been so lucky but they're no weaker than the rest. This is about luck and never about strength. This is about living with malignant cells or dying as a result of them. This isn't about fighting.

Danielle x

Danielle is one of the founders of instagram support group @metastatic_mammas

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