Cancer: a tough look at ourselves

Drugs in Mind

Image by via Flickr

Cancer is a dirty word.  Cancer kills.  No one is doing enough about cancer.  All of these statements can be heard from time to time if not frequently.  But, perhaps it’s time that we think about cancer another way.  We may need to start looking inwards at ourselves and thinking about our responsibilities and our habits.  We may need to start thinking about whether or not we are partially or sometimes fully to blame.

Wow, sounds tough…and yes it is, but perhaps it’s accurate.  Let me explain.  Many folks over the years (and quite a few now) blame doctors for being unable to cure cancer or treat cancer patients so effectively.  They get quite angry that some of the treatment have numerous side affects and that many are expensive.  They are angry at the pharmaceutical companies as they suggest that these companies only design drugs that are costly and that patients must depend on for the rest of their lives.  They truly believe that both the doctor and the pharma industry are not interested in the patient and are intent only on making money.  Cancer is something that someone gets through no fault of their own and doctors and companies out there take advantage of the situation and make things worse.  I am going to offer an alternative explanation as to responsibility and culpability.

It perhaps may be true that there are some very bad doctors who care solely for cash and that there are a few company executives who would love to make as much money as possible with almost zero consideration for ethics or moral issues.  Actually, there are all kinds of people in this world like that.  However, most doctors and most pharmaceutical industry players are not like that at all.  They are like you and I, they hope to help people in what ever they do.  I have NEVER ever met an oncologist that has said, let’s see how I can screw over this patient today.  Or, let’s see what I can do to order the most expensive tests  and make the cancer patient suffer the most.  It is simply just not the case.  On other other hand, some doctors do not have the time to listen to their patients, some have made mistakes, and some may not be trained that well, or perhaps are suffering themselves from illnesses (e.g. perhaps alcoholism) that prevent them from keeping up properly with their field.  And yes, many of the drugs out there do cause huge amounts of side effects and are not fun at all to take.  However, it was not the intention of the company to make a drug like that.  It’s aim was to treat cancer and since cancer can be very hard to treat, often the drug is quite powerful and hurts.

So, if we can not blame the doctor or company that makes the medicine who can we blame? One option is ourselves.  This does not sound very nice does it.  But perhaps there is so truth to it.  First of all, we can not blame others for our inherited genetics. We only have ourselves and our parents to blame for that….no one else. Genetics play a large part in making our bodies sensitive to cancer in some of us, and resistant to cancer in others.  We often inheret defective genes from our parents and those defects result in increased risk of cancer (of one kind or another).  However, before you start to berate yourself and tell off your parents, it is hard to tell which genes they gave you that contribute to the cancer and it is the combination of genes not just mom or dad’s that makes you….YOU.   So, sometimes the only choice is to not have been born, and since you are reading this….that can not be an option.

So, what else makes us somewhat responsible.  Even if we get a ‘bad’ set of genes, that does not mean we are destined to get aggressive cancer.  We still need further mutations to occur in our genomes.  Those come from out environment.  For those of you who smoke…then it is absolutely your responsibility when you get cancer and you directly caused it to yourself.  Sorry, there is no easier way to say this than you gave yourself cancer willingly (if you get it…lung cancer, that is).  So, do NOT blame anyone but yourself.  You did it.  However, if you smoke and you do not have cancer…than here is the lovely thing.  You can quit…wow, yes stop smoking and decrease your chances of getting lung cancer.  Besides smoking, there are other environmental ‘pathogens’ than can lead to cancer.  There is no way to avoid them all, but be aware that excessive sun exposure, toxins, asbestos, some types of plastics, and so forth have been linked to cancer development.  So, again there are ways you can try to minimize exposure…to a limit.  Again, blame yourself for sunning on the beach, eating foods with lots of additives, and so on.  Don ‘t blame others.  Or do something that changes the world around you.  Write letters to the companies who are making the foods and such that are poising the world.  Stop buying their products if you can, etc.

Another way we have ourselves to blame is diet and exercise. I have mentioned several times in my previous blog entries how diet and proper exercise can lead to or prevent cancer.  So, the question you need to ask yourself is, do I eat healthy and do I actually get the minimum amount of physical activity that is recommended.   Do I eat a lot of refined flowers and sugars, do I consume a lot of red meats.  If not do I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and get the right amount of fiber in my diet.  All of these things are not exact ‘rocket science’.  If you eat tons of junk food and drink lots of sodas, than you know the answer.  If you make a conscious effort to eat fresh vegetables and eat high fiber breads etc, than you also know the answer.  What about 150 minutes worth of exercise a week… which does not include walking to the TV and refrigerator ever 30 mins?  Are you getting enough?  Can you?  Will you?

So, it is so easy to blame the world around us.  The food I eat is not my problem, the lack of exercise is not my problem , the exposure to harmful elements are not my problem.  It is far easier for me to blame the doctor and the drug companies than actually make some changes in my life.  It may not be easy, and the reward may seem so far away, but doing all of this will reduce your cancer risk.  The best way to not get cancer is to prevent it in the first place.

Thank you for reading my rantings of today.  DO feel free to contact me or get more information on my page…. cancer made simple!


One thought on “Cancer: a tough look at ourselves

  1. Pingback: Cancer- overall prevention « Cancer Info Made Easy

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