Sunday, 16 February 2014

Cancer: "Hospitality to an unwelcome guest"

Admittedly, the first time I listened to the podcast of BBC entitled “the rhetoric of cancer””, I was not able to gather that much because the audio was not that audible and I really had a hard time understanding the conversation of the narrator and the people that he interviewed. Fortunately, I was able to find a copy of the podcast on the internet and I listened to it again. The podcast, it turned out, was such a very interesting and inspiring piece that I believe everyone must hear about.

The “rhetoric of cancer” discussed about the myriad metaphors that people from diverse groups associate with cancer. Oftentimes, people would say that the journey with cancer is a war. Furthermore, for many people, dealing with cancer is a struggle. People who suffer from the big C would often receive remarks and assurances from their families and friends that they are strong and brave that’s why they will be able to fight it in no time. These remarks about how to deal with Cancer is already so common that’s why hearing about the perspective of other people was very interesting for me.

For Andrew Graystone, he does not want to look to his journey with cancer as a civil war. Rather, he wants to view it as a journey of mind and a spiritual journey. He does not want to regard cancer as something that is apart from him. On the contrary, he sees it as a part of him that he needs to recognize, accept and love as it is with the other parts of his body that he does not like. I think that’s a very interesting way to put it.

On the other hand, for medical specialists, they view cancer as an enemy or an entity that they can talk to and fight. They consider the fight of the patients as an emotional commitment which entails eating the right foods and doing physical activities that will benefit their health. As for scientists, they view the human body on a microscopic level to study about the cells that are vital in the production of cancer cells. They believe that people who have cancer must work harmoniously with it and not against it. Finally, for a poet and a priest, his analogy of cancer to a garden with weeds was also very amusing.

After the podcast, I realized that the understanding of Cancer differ from person to person. For me, the journey with cancer is a very personal one. It is up to the person who has it how he will recognize and respond with it. True enough, assurances and words of affirmation from loved ones might help lighten the load. But it is only thru his own acceptance and understanding of his situation will he be able to “fight’ the unwelcome entity that is cancer.

At the end of the day, it is really up to the person if he/she will regard cancer as an enemy or an obscured gift that’s been clouded by negative assumptions. 


- Deniese Aninao

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