Parsing Cancer Metaphors
Senior Seminar in Biology and Society
November 10, 2009
The history of cancer in medicine, research, and society is rich with information and stories. To reduce the topic to a manageable size, I would like to restrict our inquiry to the metaphors used to describe cancer. Cancer metaphors are common methods that scientists and nonscientists alike use to describe the condition. No metaphor is the perfect characterization of cancer. Every metaphor foregrounds some aspects of the condition and backgrounds others. Therefore, I would like to explore the meaning conveyed by various metaphors. My hope is that a better understanding of the metaphors will lead to a more subtle appreciation of cancer.
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