Ovarian cancer and the metaphor of the "silent killer" / 卵巣がんと「サイレント・キラー」という比喩について

Jasen, P. (2009). "From the “Silent Killer” to the “Whispering Disease”: Ovarian Cancer and the Uses of Metaphor." Med Hist 53(04): 489-512.


A very interesting paper that analyses the power of metaphor, or “to examine the history and implications of ovarian cancer’s association with metaphorical language.  For most of the twentieth century, the metaphor of the ‘silent killer’, often linked with the word ‘insidious’, was common feature of ovarian cancer discourse, and this article explores the reasons why that image became dominant and considers the role it played in both reflecting and confirming established understanding of the disease” (489-490) 


It also gives a brief summary of the controversy over the use of metaphor in medical language since Susan Sontag, who famously made case against the mystification of illness through the use of metaphor.  More recently, writers and scholars paid more positive or nuanced attention to metaphor in medical language, and Deborah Lupton has argued in Medicine as Culture (2003) that in medical discourse, as in many kinds of communication, metaphor is an epistemological device, serving to conceptualize the world, define notions of reality and construct subjectivity.  Likewise, Emily Martin, in her Woman in the Body: a Cultural Analysis of Reproduction (2001) emphasized the role of the images of machine in the history of medicine.  491.