Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to beat cancer with money

I contributed to an online focus group for Cancer Research last week. They wanted to know what we thought of the various ways they use to get their message across. Obviously, those of us who've had cancer, or who've known someone with cancer, are far more receptive to their appeals.

It reminded me of a Thought for the Day I did on BBC Radio Suffolk in October 1998. This is an edited version:
My life is divided into two — BC and AD — Before Cancer and After Diagnosis. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve conducted too many funerals for people who died from cancer, and every time I think that could have been me. I’ve lost friends and relatives, and so have my friends and relatives.

Breast and testicular cancer are two of the commonest cancers. Both involve wobbly bits of our bodies that help to generate and nurture new life, so it’s especially cruel that those same bits can kill us — or maybe not, if we catch the disease in time and take effective action.

Since cancer drew attention to my mortality life has changed. I’m less tolerant in some respects, more in others. It infuriates me to see people doing stupid things, like driving one-handed with a mobile phone clutched to their ear as they take a corner, risking their life and mine — the life I wanted to live for much longer. What sort of pathetic excuse would they offer my family for killing me with carelessness? I’m less inclined to sympathise with whingers who don’t know when they’re well off. I tolerate things that used to bother me, things that really don’t matter. I worry less. I value my family and my real friends, those who’ve seen me through the bad times. I’m more inclined to say what I think, but maybe that’s just my age?

If you value your life, take care of yourself. Feel your wobbly bits regularly in the privacy of your bathroom or bedroom, and if there’s anything there you’re not quite sure about, go and see your doctor. Stay well. Be happy.
There are several charities that cancer patients and their families donate to, often after they've lost someone, including MacMillan Nurses, Marie Curie Nurses, and their local hospice, but what about a donation to Cancer Research UK, who've helped to keep many more of us alive? Just click on the logo at the top of the page.

Oh, with reference to my previous post about reports that people have "beat cancer", or lost a "fight" with cancer, and how annoying they are, wouldn't it be good if, just sometimes, journalists would drop the tired old clichés and give credit where it's due, to the medical profession and the research scientists, when one of us survives?

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