Friday, 7 March 2014


Joachim R. Sison

Reaction Paper: The Rhetoric of Cancer

As someone who has seen numerous members of my family succumb to cancer, I have seen a number of ways people react or deal with the news that they have cancer. It's funny, then, to see how this podcast approaches the idea of cancer is different, to say the least. 

It's true that the most common reaction to cancer is something similar to being drafted into war, and indeed most people seem to be able to relate to the idea that cancer is a battle one must bravely fight until the end. I myself would usually give the same advice as most people, which would be to don't give up, or to keep fighting. I suppose I could attribute this to the angle that the media plays on when they are advocating things like cancer awareness, as admitted by some of the people being interviewed in the podcast, but the more I listened, the more insights I gained about the experience of someone struggling with cancer.

I actually ended up feeling a bit guilty when the author stated that he didn't want to fight in the war against himself, as the cancer was a part of him. The last thing I would want for someone was to feel like they did something that they didn't want to do, because someone told them that they had to. It suddenly seemed to me like the words were more of a command than a manner of being supportive. In the end it wouldn't do much good to people to tell them "You have to fight it" when they themselves feel like it's becoming too much of a struggle. Of course, there are people who appreciate sentiments like this, but what about the people who aren't meant to, or don't want to look at it like their bodies suddenly declared civil war? What could I say, or what other perspective is there?

When the idea of looking at cancer as a journey, or an experience was first suggested, it raised a couple of questions in my head, the most prominent one was 'how different would it be if you looked at your situation in a way like this?'. I believe now that it actually changes a lot, since it gives off the impression that this is an opportunity to look at it in a more peaceful manner. I know I might not have much right to say this, but I think that a view like this may make it easier for people who have to endure the hardships of cancer.

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