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By Stacia Wagner
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I am not usually a doom and gloom person. In fact for those who know me well, I can almost always find a positive angle. Some of the art behind this is a matter of avoidance. Things which I find particularly scary or emotional, I just stay away from.

Steven Petrow’s article in today’s New York Times (July 17, 2012), New Cancer Threat Lurks Long After Cure is what I refer to as an avoidance barricade. Each month, frequently each week, a survivor I work with or know develops a secondary cancer or a recurrence. We all shake our heads and say “this can’t be true”. Reading the article is a reminder that not only is it true, but as cancer survivors, we have to be diligent in our preventative health and in caring for our own emotional/psychological needs. A quick clip from the article, will give you insight as to what I am talking about:

 “Secondary cancers now make up the sixth-most-common group of malignancies, in part because more survivors are living longer. Physicians are better at limiting toxicity from radiation and chemotherapy, so fewer people die from the effects of treatments. The bad news: More people are surviving their original cancers only to be haunted by the prospect of new diagnoses later.

Cancer survivors generally fall into one of two groups when it comes to our psychological health. First are those plagued by anxiety, depression, even post-traumatic stress disorder, which may afflict up to 58 percent of us, according to a recent American Cancer Society study. Then there are those who experience heightened self-esteem, a greater appreciation of life and its meaning, and sometimes a new or deeper spirituality.”

He asks the question, “Which bucket do you fall into? More important, can you choose where you land?”.

In my opinion, there are times when the choice is not yours and there are times when you can make a choice. I feel we each have figure out where cancer and its impact fit in our lives. No matter how scary, it is our responsibility is to continue to practice preventative physical and mental health. While avoidance works for some life situations, it does not work for cancer.

 The original article:

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