The Big ‘C’ Has A Name

Big COver the last few posts, we’ve seen that good does come out of cancer—eventually. But what can we do to cope with, or even improve, the experience in the meantime? During the next few posts, we’re going to take a look at some of the ways we can improve our cancer experience; ways to detract from the negative effects of the disease.

One of the first things we can do is call it by its name. There’s a cliché that goes, “Give a dog a bad name and hang it.” Let’s face it, names don’t get much worse than “cancer”. Look at Hollywood. If they want to portray a person with no hope, with a short life expectancy, someone to be pitied, they usually give the person cancer. If we want to refer to describe something as destructive and evil, we say, “We need to get rid of that. It’s a cancer.”

The very word “cancer” strikes fear to the strongest person. And so people have come up with creative words to act as substitutes. We call it “The Big C”, or “C.A.”, or we get medical and refer to it as “carcinoma”. It’s as if, by calling it something different, it won’t be as scary, or as frightening, or as fatal. It’s important to face the diagnosis.

When we give the disease another name, this leads to a state of denial. It makes it even more difficult to come to terms with an already difficult issue. Cancer has a name. It is finite. It can be beaten. Don’t let’s give it more power than it deserves. Call it by its name, and by so doing we will encourage others to do the same. So you have cancer? I’m sorry. That’s tough. But there are survivors of the Vietnam War. There are survivors of the Rhodesian Bush War. And there are survivors of cancer—millions of us. Let’s call it by its ugly name, and hang it!      

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