Cancer on the Brain – NYTimes.com

A good piece on ‘cancer phobia’ and how much our fear of cancer is embedded in society. Quote:

…. cancer has been stigmatized. In the psychological sense this means that as soon as we hear the word, subconsciously all sorts of bad and frightening associations go off which frame how we think and how we feel  about anything else we then learn. This aspect of cancer phobia is rooted in the perfect storm of conditions in the 1950s and 60s when cancer first fully blossomed into public consciousness. The atomic bombings of Japan, and the Cold War, seared into our psyche the tangible existential threat of nuclear annihilation, a deep dread that was closely linked with fear of radiation from the fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. The health consequence of radioactive fallout — the reason to fear it — was cancer….

Cancer, in many of its forms, is a terrible disease. I’ve had it. I’ve lost relatives and friends to it. But cancer is also a frightening disease, and that fear, and the harms it can do, are no less real than the disease itself. Cancer phobia is powerfully rooted in the deep instinctive ways we perceive and respond to risk, and like many forms of cancer itself, hard to overcome.  

Cancer on the Brain – NYTimes.com.

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