Let’s stop fighting cancer.

The language of how we talk about cancer is unhelpful to the mental health burden of undergoing treatment of the same illness.

Haje Jan Kamps
4 min readMar 7, 2019

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Battle metaphors and cancer are a disingenuous mix. I’d like to invite us all to give that side of things a rest.

Today, I woke up to a deeply sad message from Alex Trebek, delivered in his trademark calm and classy fashion, where he announces he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer:

I wish him all the best and I hope he is able to heal and recover quickly, so he can continue to fulfill his contract to the show for another three years, as he drily quips in the video.

The language of cancer

As you’ve probably observed if someone close to you is being treated for cancer, the treatment regime has two, often three, aspects. The most obvious aspect is the physical — surgeries, radiation, chemo, drugs; the whole medical machinery rolling into action. The second is the psychological — how the patient is able to face the incredibly difficult mental journey they embark on as they contemplate their own mortality and the illness itself. And…

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Haje Jan Kamps

Writer, startup pitch coach, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.