All cancers matter

I saw this bumper sticker yesterday when I was driving. It said all cancers matter, NOT just breast cancer. Then it was surrounded by various colored ribbons for different cancers. I shouldn’t really call it a bumper sticker. It looked like someone did some cricut decal letters then put a bunch of ribbons around it. It took up half the back windshield.

I have to say this set of decals really got to me…and not on a positive level. My first thought was fairly random like wow! How can that person see out of their window any more? The rest that followed were more of a serious nature. It almost stunned me how angry that person must be and how much it must be clouding their thinking. I wondered how they got to thinking that one cancer “gets too much attention” if having cancer is a popularity contest and you have to have the right one in order to have anybody notice. I wondered how they got to be so resentful? I would pretty much assume that all any diagnosis of cancer can be life-changing, if not possibly life-ending, regardless of type. I think that all my energy would be devoted to just general resentment of having the disease, not if my disease got less attention than another one. I had my own cancer scare last year and I feel confident in stating that I did not spend any time resenting other diseases that were “stealing my spotlight.” I do see how one could think that breast cancer does get a lot of devoted research time and “publicity.”..but I also think that the research time spent on a particular disease has to be proportionately driven by how common the disease is and how many people it affects. I don’t truly think that it is a deliberate slight toward other diseases or an indication of their importance. Research dollars are still a finite commodity and there are a multitude of checks, balances and endless hurdles to leap before it can even be decided where to spend them. I suppose the importance of a particular disease or cancer can only truly be assessed by the patient and his or her family, since they are the ones truly affected by it. To the patient, it doesn’t matter of his or her disease is rare or if it affects 25% of the population. Welp. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump…that’s all I have to say about that. Have a fantastic day!

Dr. Katz

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