The latest available data is from the year 2018, a count of 9.6 million deaths, making cancer the second leading cause of death in the world. As Praxis organization, we went to the Panserraikos F.C. academy to talk with children about this issue, reminding them that the best way to prevent this type of disease is to adopt good and healthy habits, in addition to knowing the symptoms and having regular checkups. This article is not going to be informative, giving data about the number of deaths due to the different types of cancer, the risks that exist or how to prevent it. You can find this information on the official website for cancer day, on the page of the world health organization. Rather, I would like to underline some social and emotional factors this time to think about.
Cancer cases continue to increase considerably, causing significant physical, emotional and economic burdens on patients, families, communities and health systems. Unfortunately, not all the countries share the same health systems so this provokes inequalities between them. On the one hand, in countries whose health systems are strong, survival rates of many types of cancer are improving thanks to accessible early detection and quality treatment. On the other hand, in countries with fewer resources, there are a lot of patients who do not have access to timely, quality diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, in many health systems the accessibility to a private or public healthcare often depends on the social class, as well as the consumption habits that are related with risk factors. There is a lot of work to be done to overcome these differences with more economic inputs in the scientific research in order to improve treatments, making them cheaper, and universal health policies.
Regarding the emotional side, being brave is the most natural reaction, whereas being afraid is also natural; everyone has their own way to live through it. Being unbearable is a logical consequence of the stress of living through a treatment that needs to destroy you in part to heal you and that lasts for months, at best, or for decades.
Let’s see the meaning of the word patient. It originates from the Latin word patiens-entis, and the translation is twofold: suffer and endure. Therefore, if we ask the dictionary, it tells us that the patient is an adjective: “he has patience,” but also an action: “who suffers and who consents.” The act of consenting leads to the action of allowing oneself to heal, and that is why one becomes the patient of…
When you are diagnosed with cancer, there are not many treatment options. Unless you have specific training, what you have to do is put yourself in the hands of your oncologist, and assume that, if you want to live, you must endure a medical treatment that borders on the inhuman. That is why those who accompany the patients must think twice on which words they use, so that emotional exhaustion is not added to the anguish of looking at death closely.
By Fernando Iturria