Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fight Cancer or Cure It?

As in every other field, and every other endeavor, language matters. Words have power.
The rhetoric around cancer can encourage or defeat, and it can persuade and raise money or it can dash hopes.

Last week a provocative op-ed in the New York Times, titled: "We Won't Cure Cancer" provoked a lot of discussion, some anguish, and a tiny bit of relief. The writer, Jarle Breivik, is a professor of medicine at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Maybe, like me, when you see those words: "we won't cure cancer" you think, "OK, so what are we going to do about it?" And helpfully, Brevik, tells us that we are getting better with cancer and better at treating cancer, and lifespans have extended, but he explains, one of our complications is that we live longer, and cancer does correlate to aging, so the longer we live the better our chances of, yes, dying of cancer.

But the centerpiece to his provocatively titled article is that we have to get better at thinking about what "cure" means, and how to read the research proposals and which promises to cling to.

It's a conversation that matters.

So here is the link to the article in the New York Times. Read and share and yes, keep thinking:

No comments: