W1 Activity: Cancer

To me the definition of heath is a state of being for the body where it is able to function unimpeded at optimum levels and without adverse effects. Then illness is the physiological manifestation that can arise from a sickness or injury, like if you have the flu your illness is presented by how you feel about your symptoms.

To me cancer is an illness, because the tumor is the physical manifestation brought on by the unimpeded replication of cells that occurs when there is a defect in a cells genetic code that leaves it with the reproduction switch flipped on. Even though most people label cancer as the disease it is really the byproduct of a underlying problem. We see the tumor on the CAT scan and people tend to see that as the problem because they can’t see the individual cells that are reproducing out of control. So in an attempt to rationalize something they don’t completely understand they label the tumor as the problem not the result of the underlying condition. But it is not an illness because a person can have cancer for a long time with no knowledge of their problem.

This was a tricky one for me but old age by my own definition is actually an illness which is very weird for me to think of it that way. Because in my own head old age is normal and we tend to think of an illness as something that is out of place. Something that is not natural and that needs to be corrected. So this revelation actually made me think of illness in a new light. Because by my own definition old age is a physiological manifestation of a long life of being exposed to various things that can cause small changes in our bodies. Which makes us “feel” old with aches and pains that give us the physiological thought of being old.

One thought on “W1 Activity: Cancer

  1. In some other cultures, cancer is believed to have no prevention methods and is incurable. Other times it will even be looked at by people as a punishments for something bad they did during their lives. In other parts of the world it can be very hard too for patients with how their family treats them. A lot of cancer patients also express feeling lonely because their families either avoid talking about the disease somewhat or completely avoid the topic in general because it can be “taboo” to discuss. It can also be very hard for someone to pay for cancer treatment, because when someone gets cancer they can be perceived as too ill to work. For a lot of people however, their spirituality can actually appear to help them with their disease. It has been shown that positive spirituality increases serotonin pathways in the brain and can help with pain and discomfort for the patient. It can help keep depression at bay and increase the length of survival for the patient. Meanwhile negative spirituality, like the patient thinking they have been abandoned, can have the exact opposite effect and increase pain as well as decrease survival time for the cancer patient.

    Daher, M. “Cultural beliefs and values in cancer patients.” Oxford Journals.

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