I know from experience that when a person has pancreatic cancer, there’s not much “fighting” they can really do, except with their caregivers, who are trying to get them to eat.
When it comes to cancer, we know it’s mostly up to the doctors to either pull tricks out of the hat, or not. I mean, no doctor ever said, “The surgery, chemo and radiation didn’t work. Madge is in remission today solely because of her spunky optimism!”
Nor have I ever heard a lucky cancer patient take credit for outfoxing The Big C. So why should they take the blame, if they die?
After all, no one said, “Frank died after losing a brief battle with a Mack Truck.”
But if we’re going to insist on characterizing the relationship between humans and cancer as a “battle,” wouldn’t it make more journalistic sense to say, “Thomas Murray died after his doctors lost their battle with pancreatic cancer?”