Stop Making Cancer Patients Feel Guilty

I don't know what caused my cancer, nor does anyone else, for that matter. I plan to enjoy the holidays and if I choose to have some extra cookies or whatever, so what
11/17/2014 03:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

2014-11-17-cancerfeat.jpg

The three words that no person ever wants to hear are "You have cancer." Your life is changed forever. You wonder "Why me?" and "How did I get cancer?" And then it starts. It's bad enough that you have to endure what you are going to do in order to treat the cancer situations but all of a sudden, you are faced with the thought that you did something to cause the cancer and this belief is being reinforced at every turn.

For the breast cancer patients, you are told that being overweight, not exercising enough, not eating the right foods, allowing stress in your life, having too many sweets and on and on are the reasons that a person gets that cancer. You start buying into all of that and blame yourself for causing your own cancer. Of course, there are those who indicate that other cancers may be caused by these same factors along with a host of other suppositions that come to their minds. You just never stop to think about those who you know that seem to eat the perfect diet and exercise regularly and live what most people believe to a really healthy life and still get cancer.

There are those who get lung cancer and the assumption is that they are/were smokers. If such is not the case, then they must have been exposed to second-hand smoke or other carcinogens. But, there are plenty of people who get lung cancer and don't have any of those factors in their lives and there are plenty of smokers who never get lung cancer despite the continuation of this habit.

Well, I am tired of those with cancer being made to feel guilty about having cancer. If we truly knew how and why a person gets any kind of cancer, we could immediately have a cure. Obviously that is not the case. All we have to do is just look at the group of women who have metastatic breast cancer. If it were a one solution fits all situations, then everyone would need only one type of chemo or combination of drugs.

But we know that some drugs work for some while not for others. Some things work for a short period of time for one while the same treatment works for others for years. And sadly, for some, there are no drugs or combination of drugs that make a difference in their lives. If only the solution was as simple as changing the foods we eat or doing a few more minutes of exercise every day or whatever idea is the hot topic of the day.Therefore, I wish everyone would stop telling others how to live their lives. I have already seen more than enough articles telling cancer patients/survivors about how they should eat during the holidays and how they should legislate their lives to not overdue it but to make sure they get enough exercise and sleep enough, etc. What they are essentially saying is that you already screwed up once by not doing the right thing so don't do it again or you will get more cancer. They are also telling every other person who does not have cancer that if they don't change their ways, cancer could very well be their fate, too. Well, enough is enough.

I don't know about anyone else but I have no intention of not enjoying today and every other day to its fullest. I don't know what caused my cancer, nor does anyone else, for that matter. I plan to enjoy the holidays and if I choose to have some extra cookies or whatever, so what. And that doesn't just apply to the holidays. I want to live, free of fear that what I do or don't do will cause cancer to return. That is the gift that I gave to myself a long time ago and what I want for every other person whose life has been touched by cancer in any way. I truly don't believe that any of us should ever feel guilty that we may/might have caused our own cancer. There just isn't any basis for it.