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to think saying 'Cancer's like flu these days' is offensive.

(58 Posts)
Beeyump Mon 02-Sep-13 22:47:51

This, breezily, from a woman at work who has had breast cancer herself, and has now had the all clear. I think she meant that cancer can be successfully treated more often now? While my mum is in that group, my maternal grandparents weren't so fortunate, and I just found the remark really off. But aibu to think that without having been through it myself?

StitchingMoss Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:29

Hmm, very very stupid thing to say - but if that's her experience that's her outlook I suppose.

PacificDogwood Mon 02-Sep-13 22:51:54

YANBU shock

I suppose she is likely reassuring herself though...

SaucyJack Mon 02-Sep-13 22:52:58

I think you're on dodgy ground when you start trying to dictate what people can and can't say about their own life experiences personally.

Beeyump Mon 02-Sep-13 22:53:44

True PacificDogwood. I unfortunately find her quite irritating in general, so wondered if that had made me more annoyed than I would have been if someone else had let that slip.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Sep-13 22:53:45

You should of asked her what she meant at the time, as it is something that cannot be second guessed.

She could mean that it is common, I don't know anyone who hasn't been close to someone who has had cancer.

She should think before she speaks, though, I don't know anyone who is well, that flu has killed (my DH died of cancer), he was Ill from when our youngest was 18 months old.

justmyview Mon 02-Sep-13 22:54:06

I would think she said it to brush off well-meaning comments from her own colleagues, not intending to upset other people

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 02-Sep-13 22:54:18

Maybe she's just relieved and trying to bring a positive spin on it?
I had BC ten years ago with a mastectomy, it has now returned. But I honestly believed I had fully recovered.

Musicaltheatremum Mon 02-Sep-13 22:55:24

There are some cancers that have seen cures and remissions increasing in leaps and bounds. Breast cancer has so much money spent on it which is only right and I am happy for these people. I though lost my husband to a brain tumour which even when it was stable robbed him of his memory and ability to work or do complex tasks (like gardening!)
There has been no significant increase in brain tumour survival in the last 20 years and expenditure on research is nearly 10 times lower in comparison with breast cancer even allowing for the fact that there are more breast cancers than primary brain cancers.

So no not like flu but I am pleased for her.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Sep-13 22:55:52

X post, I always make sure that anyone who irritates me at work, cannot engage me in serious conversations.

It saves a lot of stress.

Beeyump Mon 02-Sep-13 22:56:40

Can't always be avoided, alas.

reelingintheyears Mon 02-Sep-13 23:17:24

Stupid thing to say, and offensive.

DP has prostate cancer, has not long finished 8 weeks of radiotherapy and now awaiting results.

Awful worrying time and at times he could barely get up from the sofa.
Lost tons of work as SE and still has to have days off with extreme tiredness.

My Mum died of cancer last year.

I would have been quite sharp with her.

SarahPercyAndBill Mon 02-Sep-13 23:23:24

Flu used to be very deadly and killed millions of people. Then they found something to stop it.

Perhaps this is what she meant. That in the past, cancer wasn't treatable but now, sometimes...?

GangstersLoveToDance Mon 02-Sep-13 23:28:54

I would have taken that to mean that it seems to be really common rather than easily treatable/less serious (as I'm gauging you took her comment to mean).

I wouldn't have been offended, just maybe thought her a bit tactless/thoughtless.

Lweji Mon 02-Sep-13 23:32:03

I hope she doesn't regret it.
Just because she's been given the all clear, she is probably still being followed up. Because it can return.

thebody Mon 02-Sep-13 23:36:42

so sorry Birdsgottafky.

op I suppose its her way of dealing with it. but can see its 😒

thegreylady Mon 02-Sep-13 23:36:58

Breast cancer is never 'all clear" fact. It can return after 20 years. Doctors never say "all clear" they offer survival statistics which improve with new treatments. There are no guarantees. Your colleague is deluded but allow her her fantasy. I am 7 years on from my BC diagnosis and am still afraid before every mammo, every appointment.
Like flu...I wish.

I read it as meaning its so common. In the past 4 year I have known 4 people with it not counting friends who know people with it.

Beeyump Mon 02-Sep-13 23:46:16

Hmm, she has also talked about her cancer being easily treatable which is why I took the flu comment the way I did.
thegreylady I should bear that in mind when my mum mentions her appointments - I do tend to think of her as being 'ok now'. confused

Saffyz Mon 02-Sep-13 23:51:23

> I think you're on dodgy ground when you start trying to dictate what people can and can't say about their own life experiences personally.

But the woman the OP describes is generalising wildly about how everyone else might find cancer, instead of just saying that's what it was like for her personally.

penguinpaperback Tue 03-Sep-13 00:09:01

Hi and this is my first post after lurking for ages. Just wanted to say thegreylady is right you never get the all clear with breast cancer. I was diagnosed when my bc had already spread to my bones. I was 44 and thought I was much too young (how wrong can you be) to have breast cancer. I'd always had v lumpy breasts. I'm doing ok but one day I'll run out of chemotherapies to try or I'll be too ill to have anymore treatment. YANBU.

jessieagain Tue 03-Sep-13 00:11:31

I would've thought she was referring to it being as common as the flu.

Spero Tue 03-Sep-13 00:13:48

Agree you don't get 'cured' best you can get is 'no evidence of disease' but she is the one who had cancer, she can say whatever she likes about it. Don't see how her experience of her disease can be 'offensive' to anyone.

I will say what I want about my cancer and do what I want about it. It's me who got it and me who might be dead in the next few years. 'Offending' other people by my attitude is not remotely on my radar.

Spero Tue 03-Sep-13 00:18:21

There is one type of breast cancer which IS very easily treated - is is it ductal in situ? She might have meant that. But regardless, if saying that makes her feel better, why should she have to censor what she says because other people aren't so breezy?

I have had people walk away because they didn't want to hear I had cancer. That is much more upsetting and offensive to me than misplaced cheeriness.

Beeyump Tue 03-Sep-13 00:23:21

I'm sorry you have had that reaction, Spero
I found this colleague dismissive, tbh, but maybe only because I was thinking of my families experience.

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