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Why is it Hard to Talk About Cancer?

Why is it hard to talk about cancer? What are you afraid of?

Two years ago cancer knocked on my door -- not me but my 17-year old daughter. At the time she was only 15 and I found myself struggling to talk to her about it. Every time I looked at her I thought, "How can cancer be in this beautiful child of mine and why was it?!?" How was I going to tell her, what was I going to tell her, all I could think about was the worst part of the word cancer!

So, I ask the question, "Why is it hard to talk about cancer?" Do you hear the word cancer and just want to bypass it and hope that it goes away? Why is that? That as people some of us have a hard time talking about something that is so very much present in our lives, it's everywhere on the news, in the local paper, we are all affected one way or another by cancer. Our mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, cousin, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, and the list goes on.

Do you do the same thing as me? When I find out someone has cancer, I get a shocked look on my face and suddenly saddness enters my mind and terrible thoughts about cancer. Why do we do that? Why not hear the word and think, "No problem, this person is going to beat this, cancer is not going to win!" Is it because dying is what we all think about when we hear cancer? I feel like taking the word cancer and making it into something else, something more fun, then maybe I wouldn't be so afraid of it.

Now, I know that cancer is a scary thing -- the unknown of what is to come or not come -- but I shouldn't be afraid to talk about it, should I? More people are beating cancer today than ever before; it's the possitive that we should always think about, but once I hear that word positive thoughts never seem enter my mind.

I remember when I finally told my daughter exactly what was wrong with her. She already knew, there was no hiding it from her. At that moment I learned that it was just a word, a terrible word, but only a word because for her she was going to beat it and I am happy to say she is doing AWESOME. She is kicking cancer's butt.

It was I that was afraid, not her, me. I was more afraid and she is the one with cancer! The more we talk about cancer the less power it has on us and the more those that are fighting it can beat it or at least that is what I want to believe! So, I ask, "Are you afraid to talk about cancer and why?"

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Edwin F. Richter, Jr. January 15, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Your question begs the question of one not having it, but living with someone that does; knowing that it is in remission and not beaten in your body with no guarantees speaks volumes. I am going on 10 years as a survivor and must say when it is time to see the Oncologist for a check-up it is like a black cloud hovering around you until it is over. This goes for many people, for those that are willing to listen, as patients that are fortunate enough to have made it thus far, I talk about it and most do especially with other survivors who understand the physiological implications that set in after the doctors etiology of your situation is given to you / yours. In my case, I have the opportunity to visit a hospital once a week to speak with patients and hopefully those with cancer the motivation to manage the cancer and not let it manage them. Talking is wonderful therapy and as a parent your concerns for daughter are understood and her reaction is like any of us that we are going to beat it no matter what. I can offer you empathy from being a parent whose child and as a young adult was in and out of the hospital and oxygen tents more times than I can remember and is know a practicing physician and professor of medicine. Medical care and TLC have a wonderful way of healing and letting spiritual strength open the paths to a wonderful future.

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