Breast. Lung. Cancer.

Diseases are not supposed to scare doctors. But they can and they do. I am terrified of cancer. I am terrified of what it has done to the people I know and love, what it has done to the people, that know the people, that I know and love.  And I fear what it may do to me.

Like the patients physicians dread..I take myself off once per year for an annual health check. I think I need a camera down my throat, up where the sun don’t shine or possibly a routine MRI? Let’s just be sure… But then how are they sure? Have they missed something when they checked? Should I consider a second opinion perhaps?

Malignancy exchanged for hypochondriasis.

Yet who can blame me? Cancer is just a nasty piece of work. I can not hide from it. I can not try to appease it away from me. I can not guarantee I can treat it, even if I do get it. Plus any treatment I do decide to opt for, may either kill me in the process or quite possibly just make my life pretty miserable during the journey.

Cancer doesn’t really have a silver lining.

Bound by our hippocratic oath, all doctors in some way, care for their patients. Even the ones performing verbal abuse at 3am on a Saturday morning. Even the ones refusing to vacate their beds during a bed crisis. And even the ones who spit at you when you try to help them.

Yet, when I worked in oncology, I believe I became the best doctor I have ever been.

I cared and it came from my heart, not simply because of my duty. I cared because I watched long term patients become friends and I watched as they deteriorated. I listened to their families detail stories of happier times and engaged in their fantasies of returning home for a few more happy memories. Patient’s would detail their fears and ask me what it was like to die. I would wonder what it was like to die.

As young patients, good friends and innocent people would pass away on the wards where I was working, I would get angry. Why have we not yet found a cure?! Why can these things happen to lovely people?!

Treatment for cancer is improving and there are many cancers that today, and when caught in time, should not alter your life expectancy at all. Yet I do believe that we should still fear cancer. We are still a long way from finding its quick fix pill.

I think we should give up the cigarettes, we should try to eat healthily and exercise. We should try to make sure that we are happy. Enjoy our lives.

We should remember all those who have fought a good strong fight against cancer and cherish memories of those that fell.

And I think we should continue to donate in aid of finding a cure… Donate to cancer research





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