Yesterday I read an article written by Mike Florio about ESPN sports anchor, Stuart Scott, and his ongoing fight against cancer. It is a nice brief commentary written by Florio about Scott’s inspirational and courageous battle.
However, part of the first sentence hit a nerve with me. It reads:
“Anyone with a family member affected by the horribly random curse that is cancer…”
With sincere respect to Mr. Florio’s intention, cancer is not random. Too many people think it is. They shrug their shoulders, and say, “if it happens it happens”, “I’m not going to worry about it”. And then go about their business, as if in fact, it will never happen to them.
The truth is, running into your favorite celebrity at a department store is random. Winning the lottery is random. Being hit by falling plane crash debris is random.
Contracting a disease that affects men at a rate of 1 in 2, and women at a rate of 1 in 3, is not random. It is not a curse. It is a reality that we no longer have the luxury of being in denial about. We have to deal with it head on.
Just because we can’t fully explain why something occurs, or does not occur, does not make it random. Considering that the rate of cancer diagnosis has been on a perpetual rise since the early 1900’s, it is fair to call it something other than random. It is a pattern. It is a trend going in the wrong direction.
Aside from people living longer being the only good reason for this trend, we can assume something(s) about the way we live, eat, and breath may be contributing to the rise in cancer. Leaving it up to fate in hopes that the odds work in our favor makes playing Russian roulette seem safe.
If you want to give yourself and your loved ones the best chance to avoid or beat this “curse”, we have to take matters into our own hands now. That means making use of the best available information to prevent getting cancer and or treating it. It means being prepared and knowing your options.
In addition, it means calling on the government to put in relevant oversight measures to prevent and cure cancer with the same vigor that it has towards preventing and ending terrorism.
When something random occurs, by its very nature, there is a little surprise involved. Sadly, cancer should surprise no one.
One last note: I firmly agree with Florio when towards the end of his article he writes:
“Best wishes to Stuart and his family as he continues the battle,…”