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Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

The fight is on: military metaphors for cancer may harm patients

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5155 (Published 15 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5155

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I agree completely with the views expressed in this article. I recall agreeing with John Diamond when he first described his situation; I certainly felt the same when I was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011. My treatment was not a fight - it was an exercise in skills and dedication by clinical and nursing staff and the knowledge and expertise of dozens of related specialisms; my wife, family and friends were the source of high levels of emotional support and encouragement; my role was to maintain a clear head, try to live a good life and have aspirations for a future. My successful transplant wasn't a victory but it was an achievement that unfortunately required the death of another person.

I don't know why Cancer UK and others continue to use this metaphor and sincerely hope they pay attention to those who continue to criticise it.

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 August 2014
Mike Davis
consultant in continuing medical education
freelance
36 Tarragon Drive, Blackpool FY2 0WJ