Cancer

Health is defined as being free from injury or illness. Illness is defined as the feelings associated with a particular disease, such as fatigue or pain. The criteria I used to define health and illness was the effects that it has on the body, whether it be physical or mental. If the side effect occurs naturally in the body, then it is not an illness. I believe that my criteria came from common sense and an understanding of the difference between an illness and a natural occurrence in the body.

For instance, cancer is definitely an illness. A patient who has cancer will have declining health resulting in physical and mental effects. There is also a chance that the patient won’t recover from the cancer leading to death, the main reason I put it in the illness category. This condition causes many negative changes to the body, and is definitely an illness.

Another condition I chose was menstruation, which is not an illness. Each month the woman’s body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, then she will menstruate. Even though there are physical and mental symptoms in what is called the premenstrual syndrome, it is something that occurs naturally in a woman’s body. Every woman has to go through menstruation, therefore, you could not classify it as an illness because you’re saying that every woman has an illness at least once a month. Anything that occurs naturally in the body should never be classified as an illness.

The last condition I chose is sadness and I believe that it is an illness. Even though many people might think sadness isn’t an illness because it seems miniscule to other illnesses, the person would have declined mental health as a result. This depressed person’s mental state would go on to affect the physical state as well, and can cause many problems.

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  1. Desirae Jemison says:

    Hi Connor! I agree with you when you said that cancer is an illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. At one point of time cancer was considered and perceived as a death sentence. Cancer is viewed as a chronic disease that people are now learning to live with, death is not the only outcome from having cancer. Treatment is now hopeful. At one point of time the diagnosis of a patient having cancer was kept from the patient for the sake of their own good. It was believed that treatment was hopeless, but after 1970 the perception of cancer changed amongst cultures. In many cultures the patients are sometimes the last to know of the diagnosis. In Japan they believed that culture has a huge influence on how cancer is discussed, so because of that their culture chooses to keep the diagnosis unknown to the patients unless they want to know about it. It is believed that with the patient and their family knowing the diagnosis of their illness/disease it would affect how they cope with it. So it is primarily up to the patient and the family if that want to know of the their illness. According to Hie-Won Yvonne L. Hann, M.D.; “Whether and how I discuss a cancer diagnosis depends on the individual patient and family,” said Korean gastroenterologist Hie-Won Yvonne L. Hann, M.D., professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. “The No. 1 priority is the patient”(Benowitz, Steven).

    Benowitz, Steven. “To Tell the Truth: A Cancer Diagnosis in Other Cultures Is Often a Family Affair.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute(1999) 91: 1918-1919. Accessed on July 6, 2014. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/91/22/1918.full

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