Health

Cancer-Causing Demons?

You know what I find really scary? There are a lot of people who believe (subconsciously or consciously) that cancer is caused by some kind of unresolved psychological torment or deep, festering emotional scar. I don’t dispute that the health of my immune system is directly affected by the amount of stress I experience (this is where it gets a little tricky because having cancer, as it turns out, is very stressful) and I agree completely that reducing stress can help you heal or even avoid becoming ill in the first place.

Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and try to avoid stress.  By all means, take care of yourself. Where I get all rankled is at the surprisingly common practice of citing suppressed or unhealed trauma as the cause of people’s cancers.

This is irresponsible, backward, and a pile of merde. It’s the scientific equivalent of telling the mother of a colicky infant that her baby cries because her “milk is sour.” Which is to say that it’s a theory rooted in the murk of ignorance and superstition, miles from the light of reason. I take offense to the suggestion that I must have some gangrenous emotional skeleton in my closet and that if I would perhaps just see to it, my cancer would go away.

Never mind that it’s ridiculous to be put in the position of defending your lack of psychological trauma ( Honest, I’m not harbouring any cancer-causing demons!) it’s just plain insulting to people with cancer everywhere.  If it really were as simple as sweeping out the old demons, believe me, no one would opt to instead suffer the excruciating side effects of drug therapies and chemo and radiation. 

No one would endure the horror of their hair falling out in clumps, or of having organs or body parts removed whole or in part.  Of depending on feed tubes and catheters, and getting repeatedly sick and feeling miserable and often frightened, for months (or years) at a time. If it were as easy as a little hardcore psychotherapy, I promise you on behalf of the legions of cancer sufferers ‘ and especially on behalf of those who didn’t make it ‘ there wouldn’t be a vacant shrink’s couch from Nanaimo to Newfoundland.  And furthermore, if there were any real merit to this cockamamie theory, how do you explain the number of very young children who have cancer?  Some sandbox altercation they never quite got over?  Please. What about the number of people who have suffered horrific psychological traumas and yet remain cancer-free? Total bunk. Cockamamie mumbo jumbo, I say.  And next time someone starts with it, you can send them to me. They want trauma and scars? I’ll give ’em some trauma and scars.