Topics » Health   Dec. 22, 2011

If It's Not a War on Cancer, What Is It?

A Team Sport?

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Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

A Wildfire?A Tide?A Fight for Peace?Our Moonshot Moment?A Battle With Love?A Team Sport?A Multi-Fronted War?

A Team Sport?

Barbara Rimer, dean of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, says: "Cancer is more like a team sport. It harnesses the idea that people have to work together in a really active way. While that's implicit in the war metaphor, it isn't as clear or direct as the team idea. Researchers, doctors, nurses, the patient -- all of them need to bring their skills to bear to help cope with cancer. The team metaphor also carries over to the fact that cancer is a chronic disease. So you might think of it as multiple games you play for finite periods of time and then have to come back and play again. This was the idea of Marci Campbell, a friend and colleague of mine who died last week from cancer. Her point was also that the 'War is Hell' metaphor doesn't incorporate the idea that most people who have been diagnosed with cancer experience moments of transcendence, joy, and self-discovery that don't seem like they fit the war metaphor. In a team, you celebrate every victory along with the sorrows."

Photo Essay

Photo Essay