Cancer Arc

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Synonyms: cancer-arc
See also: Character Death, ScullyAngst, MSR, Redux arc
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Cancer-arc is a very popular X-Files fan fiction genre which features mytharc stories that take place between the shows' season 4 episode Leonard Betts and season 5 episode Redux II that deal with Scully's diagnosis, her reaction and the reaction of the people about the diagnosis and struggle to find a cure. These kind of stories are usually also MSR.


In the show's canon the following episodes are considered as the cancer arc:

  • Leonard Betts
  • Never Again
  • Memento Mori
  • Zero Sum*
  • Elegy
  • Gethsemane*
  • Redux*
  • Redux II*

* these episodes are also considered as/called the Redux arc.

The following episode allude to the Cancer-Arc in canon

  • Season three episode The Blessing Way could also be considered the beginning of the Cancer-arc since that is when Scully discovers the chip and has it removed from her neck.
  • season three two-parter Nisei/731 - dealt with the revelation that other abductees recognized Scully and that they all had cancer. This includes Penny Northern who played a prominent role in season four's Memento Mori.
  • season four episode Unruhe first hinted at the illness

Initially, Never again was scheduled to be aired befireLeonard Betts. Gillian Anderson has been quoted that had she have known that Scully had already had a suspicion bout having cancer, she would have played the part in Never Again differently.[1]

Fan Comments

I think part of the reason these stories have become their own sub-genres is because we as readers and writers, know that these are serious issues and we want to see them resolved--we want the high emotion and eventual sense of closure, and we know that in order to get it, we have to provide it for ourselves. Although, with 'Requiem', I think more authors have a better grasp of XF's style and that's being reflected in the stories.

Cancer fic tended towards stories that centered around the cancer, the decisions the characters made in light of the cancer, whereas on the actual series, whole episodes happened in which there was no acknowledgement of it at all, not even a nosebleed. By Requiem, I think we all knew that we were going to have to suffer through episodes in which pregnancy and a missing Mulder simply don't come up, and I think the fic being written, at least to some small degree, reflects that. With Cancer fic, I think we expected it to seriously impact the characters' lives, to change who they were and how they related to one another, whereas with Requiem fic, I think we've accepted that Scully will still be Scully, even with the extra hormones. [2]

Cancer Arc in Fanworks


Notable Fanfiction


Further Reading