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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?

BarbarianMum Tue 03-Sep-13 09:57:49

I think that having cancer allows a person to speak however she likes about one's own experiences, not make wide generalisations tbh.

I have know 3 people diagnosed with cancer over the past 2 years and not one found it, or the treatment, anything less than deeply harrowing. Two are now dead, including my neighbour who was diagnosed 4 months ago. She was 29 sad

Beeyump Tue 03-Sep-13 10:48:20

Thanks for the responses. I think I took her remark too personally, but I have also heard her say something like 'it's just not a killer illness like it used to be' and that paired with the flu thing seemed too flippant and generalising.

I agree with the posters who think that is her way of coping. But I reserve the right to feel a bit offended! grin

mercibucket Tue 03-Sep-13 20:38:28

didnt more people die of flu after ww1, than died during it as casualties of war? flu pandemics kill millions.

i take her remark to mean ' flu used to be feared as a deadly disease, now it often means a week off work', 'cancer used to be a deadly disease but now we have ways of treating it so it is not as scary'

as she has had cancer herself, i wouldnt over think what she really meant, whether it is true or not etc.

elkiedee Tue 03-Sep-13 20:58:14

YANBU, but I'm sure you know that. Under the circumstances, it seems like a good idea to say as little as possible to her until you've calmed down, and vent elsewhere and/or on here as presumably this is doing.

I would have wanted to clonk your colleague, not that that would be a good idea!

I can't imagine anyone at my work would have been stupid enough to say that -too many cancer deaths among our colleagues, including my lovely boss (just before I was made redundant). My mum was diagnosed in February 2010, I'm very grateful to the NHS that she's had some extra time with us, but she now thinks she has a year or two and that she'll probably spend some of that being very ill and not being able to have active spells as she does now.

Ok, losing your grandparents or your parents or whoever isn't going through it yourself, but you finding it offensive is based on some experience of cancer.

GrendelsMum Tue 03-Sep-13 20:59:15

Yes, it sounds like she meant 'flu used to be a death sentence' (as Mercibucket says, the Spanish influenza killed more people than died in the fighting in the First World War - google for photos and survivors testimonies if you're interested) 'but with modern medicine, most people now survive it'

elkiedee Tue 03-Sep-13 21:09:48

More thinking and reading. I would have found that a bit offensive, so I sort of agree with you, but....

I'm just imagining that I would have been very offended by that remark, but I can also see what others have said, that she might want to talk about her experience.

If you have an opportunity to talk to her more, I wonder if you could ask her to talk about what she meant, or listen if she wants to talk about her experience of treatment. If you know that she's taking more time off for tests etc, tell her you're thinking of her. Does she know about your mum's experience?

SirChenjin Tue 03-Sep-13 21:15:38

I can understand why she might want to downplay it or make light of it, and I would imagine that she wants to maintain a positive outlook.

That being said, I think it was quite an insensitive comment, and having lost my DM to cancer I would have probably been quite angry and upset if one of my colleagues had said the same.

Beeyump Tue 03-Sep-13 22:10:06

Elkiedee,I think it would be a good idea to engage with her and find out more about what she meant/how she is, as you suggested. Don't think I'll ever be great friends with her,but...that's fine! She does know about my mum.

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