Department of bad writing

I am not writing this to pick on Mrs. Edwards, who is suffering from a recurrence of her breast cancer. As to that, she has only my best wishes that her cancer is, in fact, curable or, if not, that its progress is slow and mild. I cannot resist, however, making you all privy to this remarkably awkward bit of writing in the BBC report about Mrs. Edwards’ cancer:

Mr Edwards said the disease was incurable, but treatable, and that Mrs Edwards would live with the disease for as long as she was alive. (Emphasis mine.)

I can only assume, after reading that above, that once Mrs. Edwards dies (and I hope that event occurs many decades from now), she will cease living with the disease.

If you’re like me, you think it’s rather remarkable that the person who wrote that silly sentence is actually paid by the British taxpayers to write for the BBC news.

UPDATE:  By the way, I’m assuming that the above semantic silliness is from the BBC writer, and not Edwards himself.  I also assume it’s an awkward way of saying that, because the cancer is treatable, it will not significantly shorten her life, but will simply become a chronic problem.  To the extent the news report said the cancer is in her bone, however, that prognosis, sadly, sounds like a very optimistic one.  Of the many people I’ve known with cancer, none have long survived its infiltration into their bones.  As I said before, I sincerely hope for the best for Mrs. Edwards who, despite lots of material wealth, has taken some of life’s hardest hits.  And, while I dislike Edwards the politician, I feel nothing but compassion for Edwards the man.

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  • http://www.couriercritic.blogspot.com babbie

    Great! That BBC sentence made my day. Can I use it in my English class?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I just think it is needlessly redundant. Something for human dramatic interplay? Sensational news?

  • http://northernva.typepad.com Gail

    I believe the numbers are 20% of those diagnosed with bone metastasis reach the 5 year mark alive after diagnosis. I am not sure what happens to the numbers after that. There are some cases out there that defy the odds. I have an elderly cousin on my mother’s side who was diagnosed with breast cancer with bone mets 25-30 years ago. She had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation, and she’s fine. She has to be somewhere in her 80s by now.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    I do know of people who have defied the odds, but, when bones are involved, my own empirical knowledge of people who had cancer falls within that 20% survival rate. Still, Elizabeth Edwards is clearly a fighter, and a very positive person, so I’ll just hope for her that she’s one of the lucky ones.