The immortal illness

By Rebecca Priestley In Books, Culture

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7th April, 2011
When Fanny Rosenow called the New York Times to place an announcement about a support group she was starting for survivors of breast cancer, the paper’s society editor said that was fine, but she couldn’t use the words “breast” or “cancer” in its pages. Perhaps she would like to call it a support group for sufferers of “diseases of the chest wall”? This was the 1950s: not only was cancer not mentioned in polite society, but the treatments were hit or miss and often brutal, and the causes of the disease were so poorly understood that many doctors, as well as tobacco ...

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