I know several people with cancer. Say for instance my uncle who died a month ago of liver cancer. It occurred to me that when cancer first is diagnosed it was a challenge to know that the illness is cancer. Some couldn't even say the word for a few months. Some became angry and felt that they had been betrayed, because they thought that they didn't deserve to be saddled with that monster. Some had expressed anger at God for permitting them to have cancer. Some had told me they are angry at the world. Some even stayed in a posture of denial that it was not really cancer, and that it would all be made well, or it would be discovered that it was a misdiagnosis. This sort of delusion has been observed to last for several years with some.
One of the interviewees in the Rhetoric of Cancer looks at the rise of war and battle metaphors to describe cancer. The programme looks at how phrases such as ‘battling cancer’ and ‘the war against cancer’ were coined by Richard Nixon shortly after the Vietnam War and slipped into common parlance. It goes onto explore how not all cancer patients find this metaphor helpful or realistic. He also talks about how visualizing cancer as an ‘enemy’ can be an easy image to grasp, but, through his research at the University of Birmingham, he sees his work of more of a puzzle, understanding how different pieces of a jigsaw fit together.
He also refers to how scientists see the process of cancer cells more as a series of switches, and seek the knowledge to turn these switches on and off depending on what the cells are doing and how they respond to one another.
"Birmingham Professor Talks About the Language of Cancer." University of Birmingham. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 March 2014.
Rennie Beth de Guzman; 2012-08605