Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Forget cancer blame game

…You didn’t eat enough blueberries, smoked, were overweight, ate cheeseburgers, didn’t get regular screenings, ignored a bump, wasn’t a “positive” person, blah blah.

…Kathy LaTour, writing in CURE (Summer 2006), says many cancer patients are asked “why” they got it.

…Yes, there are some nutrients, environmental factors, and behaviors that seem to have a link or causal association with some forms of cancer—statistically. But no one is a statistic. Another way to put that is, what is true statistically does not inexorably apply to any one person.

…As LaTour put it, if fried foods, alone, caused cancer, everyone in East Texas would have it!

…Nevertheless, people want cancer sufferers to wear those labels—so they can think, “I didn’t do that, so I am OK.”

…Blaming yourself and the what-ifs can lead to stress, just when you are already subject to a big stressor—having cancer.

…Don’t look back, advise the docs. You didn’t always wear sunscreen? You will from now on.

…Ignore people who say, “I guess all those years in the sun finally caught up with you.” Either they are mean, afraid, at a loss for words, or braindead.

…People with lung cancer feel stigmatized—we told you not to smoke and you did! But plenty of people get lung cancer who have never smoked. (This doesn’t mean stopping smoking isn’t a good idea, but the issue is too often over simplified.)

…If you need help to get past this guilt, get it.

…CURE is a great magazine and it’s free. Go to www.curetoday.org.

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