Jan Moir article-Todays Daily Mail

Hi all.
Just seen an excellent article penned by Jan where she seems to recognise most of our frustrations around these ‘celeb’ BC dx.
She mentions the HUGE irritations for me anyway, that cancer is a ‘battle’ and a ‘fight’ and that those who struggle have somehow failed in this.
I absolutely feel that cancer happened TO me -I didnt have any choice about it, and certainly didnt do anything other than accept the treatment as it came. My surgeon/medical team did all the ‘fighting’ for me.I did all I could to be positive, but I dont see that in any treatment plan!!!
Great to see a bit of realism in the press.
Cathie xx

Tried to post the link but it doesnt seem to “go live”.Its on todays Femail website under (yet another) Twilight article. It is a good bit of common sense, and one could only hope that it influences the Mails other jouralists who are the worst for using the hackneyed old battle metaphors, and for pronouncing someone cured when they`ve been through the treatment, which, as she says is actually very passive.
There seems to be current confusion in the press which is based on their knowledge not keeping pace with changes in treatment.We, ourselves are not clear about this phrase “in remission” which, actually, my oncologist has never said to me. It may be some time before most of us know if we are actually cured. In the meantime the real “battlers” are people like the late Jane Thomlinson who chose not to waste a minute despite knowing that her cancer was not curable.

Here is the article…

Please! No more ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ cancer ‘battles’

Hurrah for Jennifer Saunders, who is recovering after a bout of breast cancer.

But please, isn’t it time for everyone to stop talking about ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ the cancer ‘battle’?

This kind of combat terminology is hurtful and offensive for those who have not recovered as well as Saunders.

Those with poor prognoses who have no chance of winning anything, least of all an encounter with this deadly disease.

For the implicit suggestion in the battle conceit is that sufferers could jolly well do something about it, if only they would get a grip.

Have a glass of fresh orange juice. Go for a bracing walk! Don’t just sit there feeling sorry for yourself!
An idea, of course, that is a comfort for everyone, except perhaps the cancer patients themselves.
At a vulnerable time in their lives, they can be left feeling psychologically beached, or undone by a sense of failure because they are not dealing with the illness as well as those in remission or those who have been given a clean bill of health.

They are not ‘fighting’ hard enough.

Really. We should be more sensitive and understand that surviving cancer is not just a matter of will. And that cancer may be many things, but it is not a battle.

In fact, the treatment is actually quite passive. Patients are totally impotent in the process, they just turn up and are pumped full of chemicals or radiation.

Then they go home and try to recover from the onslaught. A positive outlook helps and, yes, it takes courage to be chipper in the face of a devastating diagnosis.

However, these macho metaphors that are now in common currency do not help. It suggests that those who struggle have personally failed, when perhaps there was absolutely nothing they could do about their cancer at all.

Recovering after a BOUT of Breast Cancer.Sounds like she’s talking about flu or an upset tummy.

Mel xx

I read this article today - it hit the nail on the head about the often inaccurate and offensive way that many BC stories are reported. I hope that other Daily Mail writers (and those on other papers) would take more notice of this. As my husband put it: “here’s an article about breast cancer that you’ll actually approve of!”

Would it really be so hard for the newspapers to educate ALL of their reporters about the way the “celebrity breast cancer” stories are written. Jan Moir explained it very well and surely it can’t be that difficult a concept to grasp??

Here is the link: dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1293291/Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-twaddle–I-teens-love-it.html

Scroll down the page a bit and it’s there.

I wonder if Breast Cancer Care ever officially contact or speak to newspaper editors to explain the basic points that Jan Moir set out in her article. Whilst the Daily Mail may have printed this article today, they have often done exactly the things that she points out are wrong!!

If BCC were to actively try and change the way these stories are often reported then this would be of huge benefit to many of us. Come on BCC - they’ll take more notice of a recognised bc charity than they will of individuals contacting them.

Agree the best article I have read - funny it’s in the Daily Mail as said who are so the worst offenders of bad reporting bc.

I agree with No1Mummy that it would be excellent to see BCC actively campaigning on our behalf to educating the public.

Well said.

Anne x

My god Jan Moir writing something sensible! (I am still reeling from her disgusting take on Steven Gateley.)

Yes - some active education of the media would be a very good use of resources.

I really like Jan Moir (but I do agree the Stephen Gately thing was bad). Her articles often make me laugh on a Friday. I also like Amanda Platell’s take on things. However, there will never be another Lynda Lee Potter in the Mail, same can be said about Jean Rook and the Express - and of course Jean Rook sadly died from BC.

here, here, BCC getting involved in a campaign to educate journalist would make a real difference - thats where most people get any awareness about bc from, in reality.

Thanks for your comments on this - it’s something we talk about a lot. I managed to get a reply from our media team about our work in this area. Here it is:

"We too found it a refreshing change to see a high profile columnist challenging the sadly all too familiar ‘winning and losing’ stories of people living with breast cancer.

"We do challenge the way that stories are covered and constantly strive to achieve accurate reporting through our everyday contact with journalists. We often suggest alternative approaches to journalists we talk to (sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t). It is a big challenge to shift editors’ fundamental notion of ‘what makes a good story’ for readers/ viewers/ listeners especially in the short-term but we believe that approaches have the potential to change over time.

"Just last week for example, we spent time talking to an invited group of journalists about the reality of living with secondary breast cancer. The majority understood that narrow reporting of ‘battling’ the disease is often unhelpful and unrealistic. Those working in the field of health usually have a good grasp of how the experience of living with cancer is also changing. But they expressed their difficulty in conveying quite complex messages in a simple way on the page that will ‘sell’ their stories to their editors. Sadly as is often the case with news, space is limited and messages become frustratingly over-simplified.

"Sometimes we get some real success, particularly outside of the news pages where there is more space. Last summer for example, our Patron Joan Bakewell wrote an excellent in-depth feature on her sister’s experience of living with secondary breast cancer, linking to our work around the issue. And Woman&Home magazine ran a great interview in 2007 with a member of our secondaries breast cancer taskforce which gave a much more rounded and thoughtful view of what living with the disease is actually like for her, followed by another article last year featuring another personal experience.

“Of course, there is much more that every organisation working with people affected by breast cancer can do. We work to challenge misconceptions and do all we can to ensure the right information and messages are communicated every day in our work with journalists. We would encourage anyone living with or having experienced breast cancer to let newspapers or any other media know if you have been angered or upset by a portrayal of the disease.”

The Breast Cancer Care media team