Sunday 18 March 2018

Jenni Murray: Robin Gibb didn't lose his battle with cancer, but he did choose to die with dignity

Robin Gibb during a recent television appearance
Robin Gibb during a recent television appearance

ROBIN Gibb was the Bee Gee with the falsetto voice who, together with two of his brothers, provided the soundtrack to some of the most joyous moments of the youth of my generation. So it was sad to hear of his death. But at the same time it is infuriating to read and hear, over and over (including, it must be said, in this newspaper) that he "has lost his battle with cancer".

I'm at a loss to know why, despite a number of us who've been through the dread diagnosis and subsequent treatment pointing out that such pugilistic terminology is entirely inappropriate, we continue to be given the impression that death from cancer is somehow an indication of failure to have the moral fibre to fight and defeat it.

Cancer comes in many forms. Some are swiftly lethal, others take their time to kill. Some, given early diagnosis and fast, good treatment, can be cured. Robin Gibb had colon cancer – notoriously difficult to diagnose, as there are few early signs to send you rushing to the doctor. It went walkabout into his liver. He had a very slim chance of survival.

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