It’s not all about me.
I am entitled to an opinion.
Over the years I’ve been blogging, there’s been many a rant about this topic, and it never gets easier.
Following many charities on twitter, I scroll through my timeline most days with a heavy heart-the same old tweets are rolled out and recycled. I’m learning nothing new, in fact I’m slightly humiliated, shamed and made to feel like having cancer is my own fault. Why? I’ll come back to that later.
Of course, cancer charities aren’t just there to support people like me, they are there to reach potential fundraisers, potential gift in will leavers- to relay information to many normal people who don’t have cancer but might one day in the future contract the disease. A charity has the difficult job of trying to reach and please everybody and that’s an impossible task. This means that charities tweets aren’t always going to apply to me and sometimes the content might even make me feel like shit.
The worst worded tweet offenders are generally along the lines of:
“Exercise cuts your risk of cancer/ breast cancer.” There are never any solid statistics to prove this, and I wonder how it could ever be proven in the future? How could we ever know one single factor is a major cause of over 200 diseases-something scientists have been looking for a cure for decades with no avail? I don’t doubt that being lazy and eating badly are cancer risks but there has to be more to it than just that, particularly in young people. People with cancer can and will blame themselves wondering if they did enough exercise. Asking yourself if you caused your own cancer is a really horrible situation to be in, and the truth is, scientists don’t know why some of us get cancer and others don’t and they may never know-at least not in your lifetime.
“Lifestyle causes many breast cancers.” Again there is no actual solid proof and no accurate figures given. It’s just a line thrown out there with no substance. I was once told that in a young woman, most breast cancers are bad luck. Are we to really believe that healthy 25 year olds have breast cancer because they partied too much whilst there are 70 year olds, overweight sunbathing and chain smoking who will never get cancer? I just don’t buy the whole lifestyle cause thing and nor should you because one day you might be disappointed if you base your cancer risk on how healthy your lifestyle is. (I hope it never comes to that). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be the best and healthiest version of yourself you can be, but it does mean that you shouldn’t blame yourself if you ever find yourself with a cancer diagnosis; it also means you shouldn’t be too quick to believe the hype.
The cancer blame game might not be intentional but it’s very real. I would prefer to see real research and real results not recycled “research” which doesn’t seem very convincing. People are going to get cancer no matter what so why not spend more money on keeping people alive or treating cancer as a chronic disease that we can live with rather wasting money paying a social media team to recycle the same old rubbish?