artcile about Susan Sontag

artcile about Susan Sontag

artcile about Susan Sontag I wonder if anyone else has read the article in today’s Guardian by David Reiff who is Susan Sontag’s son.

I was interested in this because I think that Sontag’s book Illness as Metaphor is a brilliant book. It’s interesting that Reiff talks about Sontag ‘battling’ her cancer because it was the problems of this kind of metaphor for dealing with cancer which she so clearly analysed and criticised in her work.

Sontag had breast cancer at 41 (according to the Guardian with 17 lymph nodes though as they called it stage 4 rather than stage 3 that might be wrong too), and died a year ago at 71 of leukemia. On a personal level as someone who had 23 nodes with cancer I rather like the idea of making it that old.

Any other views?


Guardian Haven’t read it yet, but will do tomorrow - found it online. I got a bit sidetracked by the “large testicles, small brain” feature on bats.

Article I read the article, but haven’t read the book “Illness as a Metaphor”. It seems that Sontag’s approach to her final cancer was a battle, despite what she may have said in her book, because she seemed to be battling against the inevitable. She did remarkably well defying the statistics up until her death.

Until we have to face death, we don’t know how we would deal with it, but I hope I would reconcile myself to it earlier than Sontag seemed to.

The article was also interesting in that it covered the views of some experts about progress being made (or not) in dealing with cancer. Back to the early diagnosis/better prognosis debate.

I was looking for information on the NHS breast screening programme yesterday and found that the motivation for introducing it was to improve survival by early detection and treatment. The opponents of screening believe that this leads to unnecessary or over- treatment. I think we need more honesty about screening so that women fully understand the advantages and disadvantages (if they want to) and can make their own decisions about whether screening’s right for them.

Based on my own experiences, I’d have opted for screening from age 40, if it had been available, even if it would have caused me to have to make difficult decisions about whether to have DCIS treated, but that’s just a personal view.