In the Nineteenth Century and the five thousand years preceding it, there were countless deaths attributed to the C-word. People from all walks of life, all ages, genders, races and religions succumbed to this mysterious illness. Just the mention of the C-word sent chills down the spine with a growing sense of desperation and defeat. Sly businessmen sprang out of the woodwork, pitching miracle cures in little bottles and raking in money hand over fist because sometimes the patient did get better and the oil in those bottles appeared to work. More often than not, the sick would get sicker in spite of the slick sales pitch, and a lack of access to proper medical care made the situation worse. Bodies, once healthy, wasted away with the onset of the disease. In the latter stages of the illness, doctors often would not even treat the disease, so sure they were that the patient had no hope.
Gradually, people began to talk about the C-word differently, and a truly miraculous thing happened: people stopped dying from it. The reasons were simple. For one thing, medical science was catching up to the reality of a wider variety of illnesses. Early detection became possible, allowing for a proper diagnosis and quick treatment. More importantly, it became very clear that the C-word was not a real thing. That word, of course, was “consumption,” a blanket term for pulmonary tuberculosis and any similar diseases that the populace lacked the ability to distinguish between or treat, but that was not truly ever an actual disease of its own. In reality, the term “consumption” only referred to the symptomatic withering of the body, which seemed to be consumed by the illness itself. Once the name of this condition was replaced with more specific terms and better differentiated by medical professionals, it rapidly became known as a treatable bacterial infection rather than the feared disease of yore.
Cancer is rapidly becoming the consumption of our day.
Although President Obama has rightfully put cancer research back at the forefront of popular discussion and national priorities in his last State of the Union Address, he has propagated the myth that “Cancer” is an actual thing. There can be no “cure for cancer,” as our President has called for and as so many people have promised or devoted their lives to in the past. There can be no singular cure for the big-C label of Cancer because there is, in truth, no such thing. Much like the consumption of a previous century, cancer has been a term used as an umbrella for a wide range of conditions that have been little understood and poorly diagnosed. Over the past twenty years, it has become increasingly more obvious that the old views on cancer were often wrong, misdirected or simply incomplete. These recent decades have offered major new discoveries and — perhaps more importantly — new distinctions that prove there is no “Cancer,” but rather hundreds of cancers. More to the point, there are hundreds of distinctly different types of cellular mutations that may become cancerous, and each of these should be considered for what they are, discussed as what they are and treated in an appropriate fashion. Continue reading Change the C-Word, Change the Story