Rogen's approach would've been influenced by his friendship with the screenwriter, Will Reiser, who overcame a spinal tumour himself. It might be unfortunate, but Reiser's script turns to his experience with cancer and its authenticity shows.
Then there are the ladies in Adam's life. His girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) didn't sign up to be a bed-nurse, but she makes the commitment anyway. The diagnosis strains their relationship, but 50/50 goes one further in contrasting Rachael's role with Adam's mum, Diane. Diane (Angelica Houston) stood beside her husband who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and, upon hearing about the news, moves in with the young couple.
As Adam's cancer matures and a surgery deadline approaches, so does Adam's temperament and these relationships. We watch him endure chemotherapy with other cancer patients and open up to (or not) with a psychiatrist. This back stage pass is honest and revealing, but 50/50 is more enlightening than hard to watch.
In fact it's not hard to watch at all. It's entertaining and you can't help but care for all of the characters. By the end of the movie you're rooting for Adam to be okay with every fibre of your body, and when an audience is intimately concerned for fictional characters, well, that's the mark of good filmmaking.
50 50 isn't a drama, nor is it a comedy: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll care. You'll love it.