QUESTION: Why does everyone insist on calling it the “fight” against cancer? – ISN’T THERE ANOTHER WORD?
Dear Another Word,
I really wish there was. If anyone can think of one, please let me know and we will start using it immediately.
The term “fight” is problematic because it implies both a winner and an ending. Neither of these (necessarily) apply to cancer. Even if you “win”, you’re still keeping an eye out for the rest of your life knowing full well it might come back. There is no ending, no conclusion to the fight. If you “lose”, does this mean you didn’t fight hard enough? How can it mean that?
“Fight” also implies that there’s something you can do about it. There’s treatment of course, but that’s not really an action on your part. If I was going to fight a bully, I would take a martial arts class and learn how to punch someone properly and do a lot of push-ups. Then, when I actually undertook the action of fighting the bully, the winner would be determined by who had more strength and more skill.
“Fighting” cancer works in a broader sense, in the sense that doctors and researchers with the skills to actually do something are working diligently at creating more tools in the arsenal. But it fails in the individual sense, because there is very, very little, I, as an individual, can do to contribute to whether or not I win the fight.
Now, of course, there are things you can do to make it easier to win – eating enough healthy food and having a positive attitude seriously work miracles – but the actual fight comes down to the question of do the tools we have work against the problem presented?
There are many great organizations working on better tools. In the meantime, we will do the best with what we have right now.
What do you think? How did you “fight” against cancer?
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