cancer, piss-race, awareness, and hope


Never under-estimate the power of hope.

Especially in the face of unknown, such as a cancer diagnosis.

If a charity run/walk,  a card, an email, a gift basket, a comment, a hug is giving hope to a patient, a sense of being cared/supported, I will do it.

Even though it is not going to be useful for many others, often less unfortunate ones that I cannot reach, I am not going to think about not doing it.

Well, of course I wish what I can do would be helpful for everyone.

But, if what I can do cannot be helpful for everyone, it should not mean that I should not do it or I should not support a small number of, even one, patient.

In cancer there is such a hierarchy, if you will. Those who are diagnosed with cancers that have generally good survival probabilities (such as thyroid cancer) are overlooked by many (not only physicians but also patients afflicted by other cancers). The same with the early stage patients who have better survival probabilities than the advanced and metastatic cancer patients. The use of terms “cancer” and “luck” in the same sentence is weird.

It is great that some types of cancers and early stages of cancer have good survival probabilities. I am so happy for this and I so hope the same progress for the others, especially the deadly cancers such as pancreatic cancer, early stage cancers with high-recurrence risk, and the advanced stages (stage III and IV) of any cancers. We need to have hope that one day we will see this, too. Hopefully soon.

Science and medicine is progressing in an exponential way; I think, overall, we are much luckier than the previous generations. I am sure decades ago, patients diagnosed with so called “good” cancers had grim prognosis as the treatments for them were not developed  yet. But it is possible today for a substantial portion of the patients.

If we are going to solve this problem called cancer, reduce the pain (both physical and emotional) caused by it, and find better prevention, screening, treatment, and cure strategies to reduce its impact on us, we gotta do it all together.

Not by fractioning.

Not by overlooking, ignoring, or selectively focusing on, or advocating for early stage, late stage, so called “good” or “bad” cancers. Or whatever.

Not by undermining efforts that aim to tackle cancer, whether it is raising awareness, advocating for more research, or health-care services, or development of better treatment and cure options (I understand though, sometime due to limited resources, we may need to prioritize the select efforts).

Cancer is not a piss-race: I wrote about this earlier and there are many others out there who presented their opinion. Of course I do respect others’ opinions and I expect the same in turn.

I understand that we all advocate for things we care for.

I care for all cancer patients.

If I can make one person aware of cancer…

If I can make one person learn about symptoms or screening tests for cancer…

If I can make one person understand their risk factors to develop cancers…

The truth is; there are so many people out there who are not aware of these.

And if they were, maybe they would help reduce their own cancer risks, seek medical care as soon as they experience the symptoms (not much later), and thus get an early diagnosis (early diagnosis can hugely help with better survival rates).

So, I think increasing awareness about cancer is important. So are advocating for better prevention and screening strategies, more research and research funding, and development of better treatment options for all patients.

This post is a little bit out of focus and probably not conveying what I exactly want to say; you will have to excuse me as today I am somehow pissed off about cancer, by cancer, the cancer piss-race and the hierarchy within it.

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