To me, battling is a part of the language of oncology that concentrates too much on the imagery of cancer as a war. Battling brings to mind fighting, a struggle, often against…
a very well-armed enemy that is quite difficult to kill. When it comes to cancer, it is not terribly useful. One cannot live one’s life battling cancer; just like heart disease and diabetes- it is something that must be treated.
To me, battling assumes that someone (or something) started the fight which assumes a measure of will was involved. It’s symbolism that places too much credit to diseases like cancer. Cancer is the result of a biologic process gone awry; it was not a conscious process, and one’s body did not “begin the war”. As a result, “battling” is not a great way to describe what our patients and we intend. We emphasize living beyond and through cancer, by treating it.
There are no winners and losers in cancer. There are purely people impacted with a disease, and doing everything they can to live through/beyond/despite it. With our help, they will be able to.