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The ultimate cancer taboo: Sometimes it kills you

Contemporary cancer gets couched in the language of cheerleaders. Even a generation ago, the mere word "cancer" seemed a certain death sentence; today, in contrast, it's an opportunity to talk about battles and fights and hope. It's something to be bravely dealt with – having cancer automatically designates a person a "warrior." – The disease is then referred to only at occasional "awareness" opportunities, preferably with a tasteful ribbon.