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What would you say to cancer if you could? Share your thoughts and stories with us to celebrate Victoria Derbyshire's memoir Dear Cancer, Love Victoria - a copy of the book plus a £100 House of Fraser voucher to be won

(91 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Sep-17 10:27:46

Dear Cancer, Love Victoria is BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire's moving and honest day-to-day account of life after her breast cancer diagnosis.

“I can't bear not to be with the three most important people in my life. I can't bear not to be there alongside Mark as my children grow up. My bright, funny, affectionate boys who are never embarrassed to say, ‘love you Mummy’, and say it 10 times a day.”

In 2015, much-loved and respected BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire found herself in the news, with a devastating breast cancer diagnosis. She decided to live out her treatment and recovery in the spotlight of video diaries, that encouraged thousands to seek help.

Dear Cancer, Love Victoria: A Mum’s Diary of Hope shares Victoria's day-to-day experiences following her diagnosis. Wonderfully heartwarming and ultimately uplifting, this is a powerful account of a brave struggle told with courage and emotion, that will hopefully give strength to anyone touched by cancer.

Victoria's book is all about speaking openly and honestly about cancer, something that will probably sadly touch all of our lives at some point. We'd like to know: what would you write to cancer if you could, or simply - how has cancer has impacted your life? Share on this discussion thread for a chance to win a copy of the book and a £100 House of Fraser voucher.

Buy a copy of the book on Amazon

This discussion is sponsored by Orion Books and will end at midday on Wednesday 1 November

Books T&Cs apply

Belindaboom Fri 29-Sep-17 12:53:41

You stole my 20s, you're sure as hell not getting my 30s.

reallyanotherone Fri 29-Sep-17 13:42:57

it's a disease, not a person. I don't think anthropomorphising it as this monster that must be battled does any good. Along with the insinuation that those who lose the fight just didn't fight hard enough. even in the o/p, it's a "brave struggle"

What I would say to the people who run cancer charities is stop with the pink shit and "heroic" shaving of heads or stopping drinking alcohol temporarily. Look at how you can attract scientists into research to actually find better treatments. Currently they're leaving in droves and no ones bothered. There are people in the lab day in, day out, making small breakthroughs, yet it's stopping drinking that is celebrated for helping find a cure...

We need treatments, not speeches and telling to "fight harder" against some personification.

weebarra Fri 29-Sep-17 13:53:35

What really said! I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 4 years ago this week. My daughter was 8 weeks old, my sons were 5 and 3.
I'm currently cancer free, but there is no rationale for why I have survived this long and others haven't. We need to spend money on research, especially into childhood cancers.
We need to spend money on gene therapy- I have BRCA2 and I really hope that by the time my children are tested, we can do something around that.
The side effects of my delve into the world of cancer will last forever. It is good that we talk more freely about cancer than in the past but it would be great if more people understood that the effects, physical and psychological, do stay forever.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 29-Sep-17 14:07:07

I do like Victoria Derbyshire, and I was pleased with how she talked about cancer compared to some celebrities. She seemed to have a more realistic approach to it all. Lots of people seemed to be angry when she described treatment as manageable and doable. But it generally is. I hope that it was reassuring to people to see that.

But stuff like this “I can't bear not to be with the three most important people in my life. I can't bear not to be there alongside Mark as my children grow up.” bothers me. Yes, dying of cancer is unbearable. Far too many of my friends have died or are dying of it. But if you’re going to die of cancer, you will, whether you can bear it or not. Sometimes people talk about refusing to die or fighting or whatever. If only it were that simple. Funnily enough nobody wants to die of cancer and nobody wants to leave their young children without a parent.

I agree with really about anthropomorphising it. So I wouldn’t say anything to my cancer. It’s not an enemy. It’s a part of me.

To anyone who has just been diagnosed cancer I’d say please don’t think you have to fight. Let your medical team do that for you. Turn up and have the treatments, and try to live your life in between. For the vast majority of people, even those of us with incurable cancer, it’s not an immediate death sentence. You'll still smile and laugh and have fun. (Crying and screaming and swearing is allowed too though.)

Vonklump Fri 29-Sep-17 14:29:00

Agree also with what really said.
It's a disease, not a person.

I hate the fighting talk also. I totally believe in positive thinking, but you don't die of cancer because you didn't fight hard enough.

NextIndia Fri 29-Sep-17 15:57:44

Absolutely echo what the other posters have said. It’s very refreshing actually. I too am sick of all the pink shit being rammed down my throat.

wheretoyougonow Fri 29-Sep-17 16:28:44

When my dad had cancer I wanted to scream when I heard the word 'battle'. If my dad died it wasn't because he 'lost a battle' it would be because he had a bastard incurable disease.

Deborah1967 Fri 29-Sep-17 17:09:42

I hate you cancer.
I am hoping I will move on and start living my life without it sitting on my shoulder.
I am cancer free I think after a hideous year in 2016.
I ruined many dates: children’s birthdays etc.
I hate you cancer.

asuwere Fri 29-Sep-17 20:35:24

Agree with Really and other posters, it's a disease; there's nothing to say to it. And I really dislike the notion of 'fighting' which implies it's a choice whether you survive the disease or not.
At the end of the day, everyone dies of something and I'm not quite sure why cancer is singled out as the worst thing; there are lots of incurable diseases, lots of accidents etc. (not that I'm saying cancer isn't bad)

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 29-Sep-17 20:40:27

asuwere indeed. Cancer is shit, but so are lots of other things. I too often wonder why cancer specifically is so feared.

TwitterQueen1 Fri 29-Sep-17 20:48:43

As previous posters have said: it's not 'dear cancer' at all. It's not a fight or a battle. Surprise surprise- none of us want to leave loved ones. Victoria is not unique in this.

Also, and I do have a vested interest here, why is it all about breast cancer and why do we need Victoria to be the focus here? I have ovarian cancer. George Alagiah had bowel cancer.

Like really, I hate the pink shit and the awful 'brave the shave'.

Belindaboom Sat 30-Sep-17 00:39:42

I don't buy in to the battle imagery at all. I'm not alive because I "fought" harder - I'm alive through sheer luck and excellent NHS care.

However, if it was a person there's a lot I'd have to say and there's nothing wrong in that.

Victoria has coped in her own, admirable way. She has written things I don't identify with, but that's because no two people have the same experience with cancer. She has her own voice and I think that has to be respected.

OurMiracle1106 Sat 30-Sep-17 00:46:44

Why did you not only take my dad when I was just a baby but why then did you come and take my mum when I needed her so badly? I don't get how you managed to take away my strong wonderful independent mum in less than a month. How could you and why would you do that. Both of them fought with dignity and grace. Why couldn't you leave me with one, and now I'm living here with CIN2/3 returning regularly, knowing that the reality is one day you will take my life too.

It's not fair. I miss my parents so much, I wish they were here. They didn't deserve to suffer. I can't remember my dad I was too young but my mum was the kindest person you could wish to meet and cancer made her suffer.

TwitterQueen1 Sun 01-Oct-17 18:04:31

OurMiracle I'm so sorry about your mum. I have cancer and I have daughters. My greatest fear is leaving them before they are independent.

AlexaAmbidextra Mon 02-Oct-17 23:05:52

Agree absolutely with really. I work with people with cancer and I fucking hate all this fighting, battling, positivity shit. And yes, I hate the pink ribbons, head shaves, races for life too. Stop anthropomorphising a disease!

TellMeItsNotTrue Tue 03-Oct-17 01:29:45

Dear cancer,

There are so many evil people out there, why do you seek out the good?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 03-Oct-17 08:05:59

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments reallyanotherone made earlier.

I detest with a passion the language applied to it in terms of struggles, journeys or battles. Cancer is no respecter of persons be they good or bad. It does not discriminate.

opheliacat Tue 03-Oct-17 08:22:14

I also agree with really, and while I have no wish to denigrate the good work being done by Victoria Derbyshire, it is almost unique as a disease insofar as it is implied that to recover from it ("beat" it) you need a certain strength and state of mind ("fight" it.)

I can understand how such terminology comes about. I am 35. I know that if I had been born twenty years earlier, I would have grown up with 'cancer' being almost akin to 'corpse.' As it is, thanks to research, prevention and treatment, it isn't. But when cancer is either certainly terminal, or where it isn't but the chemotherapy is such that the individual is left wanting to die due to feeling so wretched, the idea of fighting back against something can be helpful, I suppose. And perhaps it helps in the grieving process to take vengeance on cancer in some way by fighting it, I don't know.

The difficulty with this terminology is of course that the inference is survivors fought it, while those who died might have gone down nobly but they still "lost", and it is easy to say why that is a problem.

Twitter, my thoughts are with you. There are as many cancers as there are body parts. Breast cancer seems to be one of the more common. My mother had stomach cancer which I think was easy to miss, but this was twenty years ago.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 03-Oct-17 08:26:48

It is an awful illness, indiscriminate.
Dear Cancer, fuck off.
Not very eloquent but I feel it makes my point.
If I do win, I will donate to a local cancer charity.

Rainatnight Tue 03-Oct-17 08:33:33

I would say that I think anthropomorphising it is a weird and infantilising trend, and that's with three parental cancers under my belt.

KingIrving Wed 04-Oct-17 05:18:10

Instead of talking to the cancer, could we talk to decision makers about trials, money for research, prevention, ....
As if cancer would listen. Not that I believe for a minute that politicians would listen either ....

CathyMedici Thu 05-Oct-17 15:06:45

What about Dear Heart Disease - it kills far more people than cancer?

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Thu 05-Oct-17 16:59:24

But the author had breast cancer...

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Thu 05-Oct-17 17:09:10

Are you in the UK? According to these stats from the BHF website, heart disease doesn’t kill more people than cancer here (see Table 1.1). They’re both major killers though and it would be good if both could be prevented or treated more effectively. Cancer does seem to be the “celebrity” of diseases, which must be frustrating for those with other diseases, especially the less common ones which don’t get much research funding at all.

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