Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Cancerese: How The Language of Cancer Needlessly Threatens

Cancerese is the language of medical providers speaking to medical providers.

Needed instead is a new drug, in this instance a language that speaks humanely to people, rather than threatening them, offering words and a vocabulary connecting with one's soul telegraphing not what you may lose, but rather how a deepened life often awaits.

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

This, one of English writer Rudyard Kipling's most famous quotes, was coincidentally delivered as part a speech Kipling presented in 1923 to the Royal College of Surgeons in London. He metaphorically compares words to drugs to demonstrate the deeply persuasive power of words.

Kipling's words offer the perfect segue into the latest column of Susan Gubar, who writes in The New York Times of the often unintended, yet nevertheless destructive meanings behind much of today's cancer vocabulary.

For example, Gubar resists use of the pervasive tag "cancer survivor" because "it erases or demeans patients who do not or suspect they cannot survive the disease."

Read a discussion of Gubar's column by a medical provider, a breast cancer surgeon, or go directly to her thoughtful column.  

[Ilustration by Keith Negley, Source: The New York Times]

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.


Contact Us

Find Us

From Address:

Locate Us

443 Park Avenue South
11th Floor
New York, NY 10016

(212) 300-3760