Monday, April 30, 2012

Bias against disease

This article reminds me of the bias that exists with a disease diagnosis. How often do we hear 'Did you hear Susie's brother has cancer?' 'How sad. He was such a nice man.' Instantly a diagnosis becomes a mental death. The patient is written off and sent to some other world. When their death finally occurs, whether in one year or fifty years, you hear 'he was such a fighter, he struggled so long and hard'. But I don't think these people actually knew the patient and what he went through as they wrote him off at the diagnosis.

Leper colonies were the previous centuries way of creating bias and discrimination against those with a disease that was understood and feared. Now we don't physically  put people in hidden colonies as much. (I believe still in parts of Asia those with an HIV diagnosis are sent to secret villages.) But we still mentally write people off when we hear such a bad thing. No they didn't move to Australia, they still live down the street and go to the doctor a lot.

So I am very happy to see the kind of support people who get it do know. I 'know' Michelle from her blog which was recently renamed 'Mission Remission'. She is a young mother who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008 and now is going through a recurrence. She has amazing support. In addition to her blog she has a fan page on Facebook with hundreds of supporters who help her with donations to help her and her family and support her through this latest cancer adventure. This is a good story.

However, then I read the story of an Iranian woman who is trying to get permanent residency in Canada. She has been there on a student visa since 2005 and trying to get the residency visa. However, since her application she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. So now the concern is that a return of her breast cancer would cause a strain on the health care system. (First of all who knew that you need a medical exam to get permanent residency in Canada - how's that for discrimination?) You can't live there if you are sick and might strain the health care system. This woman is a victim of circumstance. I am sure this would not be an issue if she did not have a breast cancer diagnosis.

Phooey to the Canadian government on this one. This is bias. Along with a bit of stupidity as well. One case of breast cancer is not going to destroy the Canadian health care system and if it is, then the healthcare system is in very poor condition. And its not like its contagious and going to infect millions of others.

Face it, in our life times, everyone will get there share of medical issues. There are some luckier than others who may not need as much care as the rest of us. Then there are people like me who get more than their share of medical care. There is no way of knowing who will get what and when.  So why do we have people who create and allow such bias and stick cancer people in our modern 'leper colonies'?

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