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‘Fighter, warrior, hero – these are among the cliches unpopular with some cancer patients, a survey finds.’


The UK poll by Macmillan Cancer Support of 2,000 people who have or had cancer found “cancer-stricken” and “victim” were also among the least-liked terms…

Calling a person’s cancer diagnosis a “war” or a “battle” and saying they had “lost their battle” or “lost their fight” when they died, were other unpopular descriptions, according to the poll carried out by YouGov.

Articles in the media and posts on social networks were found to be the worst offenders for using such language…

Mandy Mahoney, 47, has incurable metastatic breast cancer… prefers “clear, factual language” and describes herself simply as “living with incurable cancer”… “it is fine to not always know what to say.

If you tell me it’s awkward and you don’t know what to say I will find a way to make that right for you, and actually on some occasions I might say ‘we don’t have to talk about it’. But just be real.”

Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a campaign to highlight the challenges posed by a cancer diagnosis and the support available.


I would be interested to know, what is the experience of HIFA members in different countries?

Best wishes, Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information – Join HIFA: www.hifa.org 

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All – www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org   FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG      neil@hifa.org

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