Have people with a terminal illness "lost a battle"?

When we shared a letter on our Facebook page   from Dr Tim Rubidge (below) about the use of "battle" or "war" when talking about people who have a terminal illness, we recieved some passionate and diversive responses.

We had a huge response, and you can see a selection of comments from people affected by terminal illness below. Many said they strongly disliked the use of this language when talking about disease; others felt they or a family member had found it a helpful way to look at the illness.

The original letter and your responses

Cancer is an illness

What language do we use at Marie Curie?

We don’t use ‘war’, ‘battle’ or ‘fight’ metaphors in our publications or on our website to talk about people who have illnesses like terminal cancer.

The people we support have a terminal illness, whether it's terminal cancer or another condition – that’s what we’re here for as a charity. So in other words, the people we support or their families are likely to be aware already that they’re not going to get better, before we get to know them.

We don’t want to suggest, however inadvertently, that the people who come to us for care and support could in some way have 'fought harder'.

Living with a terminal illness

That’s why, rather than talking about a 'battle' against an illness, we focus on living with a terminal illness.

We concentrate on how we can help people can get the most from the time they have left, right up until the end of their lives. Our work is about making sure people with a terminal illness and their loved ones have the right care, information and support every step of the way.

That includes things like our Marie Curie Nurses helping people be cared for at home if that’s where they want to be, rather than in a care home or hospital.

Unique experiences

Everyone is different, though, as the comments below show; if you or a loved one have a terminal illness, only you know how you prefer to look at and talk about what you’re going through.

That’s why the only times you might find 'battle' language in our communications is when someone affected by terminal illness is talking about their experiences in their own words.

What do you think?

Living with a terminal illness