Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sorry, I don't do guilt trips

Cancer deaths are decreasing each year - more than 1 million have been avoided through better screening, treatment, and prevention since 1991. But that is not enough:

'That sounds promising, but it's not as good as it could be, says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and conditions expert.

"Our data on cancer causation and cancer prevention tells us that we could have done a lot better," Brawley said.

Given all of the available information about how to prevent, screen for and treat cancer effectively, it appears that up to 200,000 lives could have been saved in 2008 if all of those known measures had been taken, Brawley said. More specifically, many of those deaths would not have occurred if more people hadn't been smoking over the past 20 years. That's because it takes about 20 to 30 years of smoking to develop lung cancer.'

And of course we need to factor in the inactivity/obesity/high calorie intake which is about to to take over tobacco use as the number one cause of cancer.

"Access to treatment is another major issue in avoiding cancer deaths, Brawley said. A substantial minority of cancer patients do not get the treatment they need, many times because of lack of insurance coverage.

More science needs to be done on other possible causes of cancer from environmental causes, such as air pollutants and chemicals in plastics, Brawley said."

I hate these articles. I didn't do anything wrong. They are not written to provide a guilt trip for those of us lucky enough to get cancer but they do. I belong to about a billion cancer message boards. On one recently, there was a discussion on how everyone thought they got their cancer. There were lots of ideas - over use of cell phone, living near a volcano, living on military bases, etc. My reply is I have given up trying to figure this one out and we cannot beat ourselves up for something we might or might not have done - its in the past and unless we have a way to undo things, its not going to happen.

I really don't do guilt trips related to the cause of my cancer. I don't smoke any more but if you asked a 'so-called' cancer specialist I am sure they would be happy to tell me I am eating the wrong things, not getting enough exercise, breathing contaminated air, using plastic, driving a car, playing in traffic, stressed out, have a pet, never had children, am too fat, or any number of things. I refuse to worry about this any more.

Here's the bottom line. I have had cancer twice. We know there are things that can raise one's risk of cancer but do not guarantee you getting cancer. I may have done them but billions of other people have done them as well and didn't get cancer. So unless you can tell me, what exactly caused my cancer, I will politely tell you now to please shut up. If you don't I may get crabby.

1 comment:

Dr Greg Schreewer said...

Hi Caroline,

I'd love to have a chat to you about your cancer. Signs and symptoms of the body, which includes 'disease' and 'illness' is something I specialise in.
I wrote a post about cancer about 3 months ago on a blog called The Wellness Warrior. Here is the link if you're interested to have a read.
The post that followed this one was as a result of a conversation I had with the lady that runs this website, about the reasons for her cancer.
I love helping people come back into balance with who they are and cancer appears to be a last ditch effort of the body to get people to do so.

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