Read Susan Sontag's brilliant book "Illness as Metaphor" written during her own experience with breast cancer in 1978. She examines how a person's reaction to his/her cancer in the 20th century, similar to tuberculosis in the 19th century, unfairly and unreasonably came to be seen as some sort of measurement of character. We all wish Martina well, but making value judgements about people in the most difficult times of their lives is ultimately cruel.
I read the book, skimming through some parts (the historic referencing mostly), but think I got the main points down, including the one you were invoking.
My describing cancer as scary would fit into the category of what Susan was describing in her book, and yes, thinking about it really makes me realize that it's unnecessary and not helpful at all. But to what you said, about making value judgements, I don't think it actually applies to the sentiment I expressed. My comment wasn't implying any psychological link to successfully treating the desease, I don't think people "can cure themselves by the mobilization of will; that they can choose not to die of the disease." Pretty clearly I wasn't implying ANY shame to having cancer or that people with cancer should be treated or talked to differently than others.
I do honestly have admiration for those who can or try to stay positive while dealing with difficult times, as you put it. That in no way is meant to victimize or victim-blame the person going through difficult times but of course I wouldn't praise someone's positive attitude if I knew it would offend or make them feel bad. I just don't think that's what the book you referenced was about.