Sunday, January 8, 2012

CANCER versus cancer

Recently in the NYT's science column, there was an op-ed about perhaps renaming very early stage cancer, so-called Stage 0  or sometimes carcinoma in situ, to something other than cancer as generally these conditions are survivable with very little treatment. Proposed name? Abnormal cells.

Cancer is hardly a single disease and all cancers certainly aren't created equal. A Stage 4 diagnosis with one cancer means almost certain death and something 60% survivable in another. I do remember being a tad resentful of a breast cancer survivor who was currently battling cervical cancer saying Breast cancer was nothing; try having cervical cancer! No one likes to have their suffering trivialized.This was just another variation on what I like to call My Tumor is Bigger than Your Tumor.

And you never know. A woman I know was diagnosed with BC in situ the same time I was diagnosed with Stage 2 TNBC. She was told the chances of it turning into 'real' cancer was only 2% and it was treated minimally. I went to her funeral this fall.

But today I did read of a  situation that might truly be called cancer vs CANCER. The president of Argentina, a woman my age, had a swelling in her neck suggestive of thyroid cancer. Headlines: The President Has Cancer!
New headlines: after removing the thyroid, no cancer cells were found but now The President Will Need Hormone Replacement for the Rest of her Life!!!!!

Almost all my friends are on thyroid replacement, which I find amazing. Why do our thyroids so often become non-functional? But at any rate, not to trivialize, the president's suffering, but the headline might as well read The President Will Need to Brush her Teeth for the Rest of her Life.

Still relative 'spring' here. Almost another week of it before winter returns. I am taking a short exercise break. With so much ice free weather, I can afford to.

1 comment:

Nancy's Point said...

Great post. Reminds me of the times I've been told I was lucky to get the good cancer. Yeh, right.


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