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Analysis

Mind your cancer language

Poll reveals 40% of people thought militaristic words such as 'fight' or 'hero' were inappropriate when referring to cancer
Cancer_words

Poll reveals 40% of people thought militaristic words such as 'fight' or 'hero' were inappropriate when referring to cancer

How many times have you opened a newspaper and seen a celebrity promising to ‘fight’ their cancer? Or a politician vowing to help the NHS ‘battle’ the disease?

Only this month health secretary Matt Hancock marked World Cancer Day by tweeting about his support for ‘beating’ cancer.

Such language is meant to be empowering, but according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support it may not always be helpful.

A poll of more than 2,000 people carried out by YouGov for Macmillan found a significant degree of unhappiness about the use of militaristic words.

When asked whether terms such as ‘lost their battle’, ‘cancer stricken’ or ‘hero’ were appropriate, about four in ten consistently said they were not.

Survivorship agenda

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