Viewpoint: Did Richard Nixon change the way people describe cancer?

Using “battle” and “suffer” to describe an individual living with illness is controversial and takes on different meanings for each person. What do these words mean for those living with chronic illness? Do ‘fighting’ words add to or diminish your daily dealings with illness?

“Some people who have cancer find the language of battle useful – but not all of us. Some of us need new metaphors that come closer to our own experience. When I was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, the language of warfare jarred with me. It was partly because I’m not really the fighting kind, and partly because, frankly, there wasn’t much that I could do to fight my cancer.”

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