When you first mention the phrase, “ugly word”, my mind immediately goes back to the comedic bit by George Carlin, and his “seven words you can’t say on TV.” To me, those words are just that, words. They cannot hurt physically, though they have the potential to hurt emotionally. To me, cancer is an even uglier word than those recited by Carlin. I have every right to make that claim, because just as the other words can hurt emotionally, so can cancer. But cancer hurts physically as well.
I can make this claim. Besides coming into my life with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 1988, cancer has decimated my family. My paternal grandmother died from cancer of the gall bladder. My paternal grandfather died from complications of lung cancer. My maternal grandmother survived breast cancer only to succumb to ovarian cancer. My sister passed away from a relapse of aplastic anemia (a form of leukemia) after having been in remission for over three decades. And this past May, I lost my father to lung cancer.
I have had many more friends pass away from cancer and have known many more who have died as well. Yes, I get to state that cancer is a very ugly word.
Over the years, there have been many campaigns used to draw attention to cancer. “Save The TaTa’s” is a campaign for breast cancer, a campaign I support (figuratively, not literally – no pun intended). While it may lack “taste” to some, it does get attention, which of course leads to awareness.
A couple of years ago though, a new campaign began. I first became aware of it while on a Facebook page for Lymphoma. A young woman had been celebrating the announcement of their remission. A picture had been taken of her holding a sign in one hand, and her other hand was posed with her middle finger sticking up with the old one-finger salute. I know where the finger was directed because the sign said simply, “F*ck Cancer!” Clearly she was making a statement of defiance.
Normally, when we hear or see the F-bomb, it is generally used in slang or some obscene sexual reference, and this is not normally acceptable used by society. But I personally feel, when it is used an expression of anger or defiance, it is emotion that needs to come out. Dropping an F-bomb on Cancer to me is not a “dirty use” of the word. Cancer patients have every right to be angry, and I definitely want cancer patients to be defiant to cancer. Cancer expects us to just roll over and die, not fight back.
Since the time I discovered that FB page, it has grown so much. And it is now a movement with over 171,000 “likes”. These are people who have stood up to cancer, or will do what they can to stop cancer. But before you judge them, just because they use a word unaccepted by society, check them out:
I do not normally use language considered obscene. I do not really need to do that when I have conversations. But when it comes to taking on one of the ugliest words in the world, cancer, I have no problem saying “Fuck Cancer.” I have more than earned my right to say that after what cancer has done to me and my family.