Battling and fighting words

The above paragraph comes from an article in yesterday’s Herald. The findings of this poll for MacMillan Cancer Support were widely shared and discussed across the media.

MacMillan Cancer Support were quoted: “By drawing attention to this we want to encourage more people to talk about the words they want to hear, and stop the damage that can be caused to people’s well-being and relationships”.

I have written a number of times about the use of military metaphors when it comes to healthcare and the ethics and science of wellbeing.  I first did so many years ago in relation to dementia and more recently I have written about this in relation to other conditions.

I was thus disappointed to find that a recently published article was titled:

My view is that this is an unhelpful title as it unequivocally states that there is a “war”, encouraging an “understanding” that one or other “side” should be “victorious”. Any medical intervention has the potential to bring benefits, harms and a range in between. The use of military language fails to express this real world complexity and discourages a constructive approach to debate.

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