Luke Allnutt on ‘battling’ cancer


Readers of this blog will know of my antipathy to the martial language often used in the culture to describe cancer.

It was a great pleasure, therefore, to hear Luke Allnutt, recently diagnosed with cancer, saying the same on Today this morning.

You can read Luke’s excellent blog on his experience of cancer here and follow him on Twitter here.

Here is the full interview with Luke, in which he explains why ‘fighting’ cancer is no longer an acceptable term to use.

Listen here [audio]


  1. I do so agree. At first I thought ‘oh ****’ not another one banging on about terminology and the ‘battle against cancer’ and ‘oh how brave’. None of which is at all relevant when you are either going through it or watching someone you love die.
    Fortitude and Being in constructive Denial are both completely appropriate. Well done Luke. And Anthony .. Congratulations on your Church Times Review.


    1. Dear Ros
      Thanks for commenting on this and on my CT review, that’s kind of you. I was really struck by Luke’s clarity on this: if enough of us who have or who have had cancer (and those with loved ones who have it) speak out the language will begin to change. It has to. Yours with kind regards, Anthony


  2. Thanks for this Anthony, another good blog. I so agree with both of you. I would even go so far as saying that coping with some other people’s reactions to cancer are worse for me than coping with cancer itself.
    Most people I know are fine, but a few I tend to avoid if at all possible.
    I got to the point where I was delighting in making them feel uncomfortable by making, very often, tasteless jokes about it all, naughty me.


    1. Dear Sue I’m pleased you found this post, and thank you again for commenting. It sounds like you are indeed trying to have fun with the process of talking about what you are going through…if it can be called that. Wishing you the very best as ever Anthony Anthony Wilson

      Love for Now, my memoir of cancer, is availablehere

      Riddance, my new book of poems, is availablehere



  3. Thank you for posting the recording Anthony, Luke puts it very well and clearly. I don’t think the point can be made often enough about why the ‘battle’ metaphor is unhelpful.


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