Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Military metaphors for cancer

To be good physicians, we must all fight against the battle against cancer

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 30 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5862
  1. David W Berger, district medical officer, emergency medicine1
  1. 1Broome Hospital, Broome, WA 6725, Australia
  1. daveberger{at}

I’m not a fighter, or at least I’m not a fighter when the fight is pointless. A fight “to beat” metastatic cancer is usually pointless.

This use of military metaphors1 chimes with modern Western ideas about fighting injustice. It’s a compelling idea (how could anyone say fighting injustice was bad?), unites most of us with a common purpose, and helps …

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