Los Angeles Times

Commentary: 'Fighting' disease is the wrong metaphor

When Alex Trebek, the longtime "Jeopardy" host, revealed to the world that he'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer this spring, his statement echoed the words of many patients I've treated.

"I'm going to fight this," Trebek promised. "I plan to beat the low survival statistics for this disease."

Though I mourned his diagnosis, I also winced at his use of the familiar language of "fighting" and "beating" cancer. As a palliative care physician, I know patients can find it empowering to describe their approach to illness as a battle. But others have shown me that the language of "fighting" a disease or

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