Why this? Why now?
Almost without exception, when diagnosed with cancer, all people are haunted by two questions. The first question is “why?” The next is, “what can I do to participate in my healing?” Until answered, both of these questions cause deep anxiety and stress. Stress is a major suppressor of the immune system; and, the immune system is the body’s weapon against cancer formation and growth.
Many medical experts believe that stress, caused by emotional suffering and feelings of helplessness, is the key factor in the formation of many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
To quell this stress you need to find the answer to the question “why?” Why me? This is a two-pronged question. One prong deals strictly with the physical aspect. What is the physical reason that the DNA in one of my cells mutated?
The second prong of the question “why?” is spiritual. Why would God allow this? This is particularly puzzling to those who have made a serious effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle – proper diet, exercise, etc.
The answer to the first part of the question “why?” (the physical cause) is straight forward. You have been sabotaged by the Western Industrial Culture. In his book Anticancer, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, makes a compelling case that three major changes in our culture play an important role in the growth rate of cancer:
- The addition of large quantities of highly refined sugar in our diet.
- Changes in methods of farming and raising animals and, as a result, changes in our food.
- Exposure to a large number of chemical products that didn’t exist before 1940.
If you add “stress” to this list of causes of cancer, you have the cause of over 90% of all incidences of cancer in our nation. But this doesn’t satisfactorily answer the question of those seeking to know the exact physical cause of their cancer.
To know what caused the mutation or series of mutations in the DNA of a cell is not possible. You would have to be observing that particular cell (out of 10 trillion cells in your body) at the particular moment the mutation occurred. However, there are common causes for each type of cancer.
For those who want to pursue the physical root-cause the American Cancer Society publishes research about cancer-causing substances in and about the home, the workplace, and in consumer products. Their report includes carcinogens that cause most types of cancer (to view this report, click here). The American Cancer Society also publishes a list of known and probable human carcinogens (click here to go to that site).
Great amounts of stress are caused by unanswered spiritual questions. That will be the topic of the next several posts. Why did God allow you, or a loved one, to get cancer? What is God’s role? It is understandable that a person who is going through a journey with cancer – or a caregiver who watches a parent, child, or mate struggling with cancer – can have their faith shaken or be angry with God. In coming posts I will deal with these issues.