Should The Word CANCER Be Considered A Swear Word?

Spread the love

"a man with disheveled hair and clothes, grimacing as he comes out of old fashioned rollers, the kind that wrings out washed clothes, as he comes out he is flattened"

My Health Has Put My Body Through The Wringer

I’m sorry that I haven’t been around but I’ve been having Technical Difficulties, mainly, with my body. You see, you’re going to find out about a journey through the healthcare system that sounds more like an adventure novel than a medical history. At the age of 17, I encountered a nemesis named Acute Iritis – think EYE AGONY FIERCE, but thankfully, a foe that was vanquished.

The next challenge on my health odyssey was something called Spondyloarthropathy. Just skip trying to pronounce it and know that it involves a group of arthritic conditions. As mysteriously as it appeared, it seemed to fade away – or so I thought at the time.

But the villainous plot thickened with the entrance of MEN1, or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1. This culprit was a game-changer, disrupting my body’s calcium supply to my bones. Unaware of the silent bone sabotage taking place, I dove headfirst into professions that weren’t exactly low-riskTree Service, Cellular Tower Climbing, and serving 16 grueling years in the military, all without the slightest clue of the ticking timebomb within me.

"a man with disheveled hair and clothes with a concerned look, looks down at his very bloated stomach, photo art. Image 2 of 2

“A Ticking Time Bomb Inside”

Because of bone porosity, surgeries couldn’t be avoided. My spine has been through the repair shop twice and my knee? Well, it got replaced, but due to complications, it will need to be done again. Thanks to COVID-19, which I grappled with three times, it decided to gift me with MCTD, making everyday movements a battle against muscle soreness.

However, with every sting in the tale, there’s also a twist of fate. Through what can only be described as a miraculous mistake, a routine examination of my SPINE POST-SURGERY put me on the radar for CANCER. A 3.4cm LEFT SIDED HILAR MASS” – which sounds more like a GRUNGE BAND name than a health scare – was discovered accidentally on an X-ray.

"a rock band the drummer is a cancerous mass, the guitarist is a fat colorful tumor, the bass guitarist is a hairy mole, and the singer is a beautiful tumor with lipstick and a dress"


If you are a Christian, you know about “Trials and Tribulations”. Well, the Lord felt I needed a little humility, so on the way to my 07:30 PET scan, my wife learned that her mother had passed earlier that morning. In addition to the mass in the lung, the PET scan found a 3.0 mass that had metastasized to my paratracheal lymph node.

Later that week, I had a biopsy, and when I woke up, I discovered that “MY” DAD had passed as well. So, is that a trial? Sorry, I’m not through yet because the knee replacement that I had last May came loose. LOOSE?? Now, if they could somehow, just screw my foot back on, that would be nothing, but NO!

They have to swap it out with another one. Now WA Members, all 2.7 Million of you, if you see a commercial for FREE Knee Replacements…..Run! Run Away! While you can still run. And if I wasn’t HUMBLED enough, as the Knee Hardware loosened, it pinched my Sciatic NerveAnother BIG OW!!!

Investigating CANCER can be like busting open a PINATA. You seem to find more DASTARDLY things when you start exploring. My Orthopedic Surgeon said, “When we open up your knee, we may find more CANCER”. However, the Pulmonologist said, “The Mass in your ParaTracheal may just be inflammation”. That’s great! All she has to do is cut it out!

"a doctor in a white coat, stethoscope, is busting open a PINATA and pills and syringes are falling out"

“A Doctor Using The PINATA Analogy”

However, using the PINATA analogy led to more questions. If it’s not CANCER, then why is my throat inflamed because I have issues swallowing? The CT Scan report also says that it found a 1.9cm R Renal Cyst, a 1.4cm L Renal Cyst, a 1mm nonobstructing Calculus on the L Kidney, and Trace Bilateral Pleural Effusions 3.1 X 3.5 X 2.6cm. What’s that? Please! No more PINATAS!

So here we are, smack-dab in the middle of figuring out whether my inside is turning into the ultimate rock festival of unwanted growths, or if we just need a couple of snips here and there – no heavy-duty treatments required. But let’s not jinx it by shouting CANCER from the rooftops. In my case, I’ll whisper it… for now.

Rebranding CANCER:

The Pros & Cons of Making It a Swear Word

Let’s face it, CANCER doesn’t usually pop up in casual conversation without dropping a silence bomb on the room. It’s like someone cranked up the gravity, and now the air’s too thick to laugh through. But here’s the thing – if we started treating CANCER like it’s the Lord Voldemort of diagnoses, not to be named, what are we really achieving?

"lord voldemort"

“Lord Voldemort”

A lot of folks think of CANCER and they immediately picture something unspeakable, like the word itself has some sort of power. I mean, sure, you could whisper it, or rebrand it as the BIG C, but isn’t that just giving it more of a BOOGEYMAN VIBE? Perhaps the key is not in renaming it but in reframing our approach to the conversation about it.

Making CANCER a no-fly word isn’t going to strip away the fear or the hard-hitting reality of the disease. Trust me, I’m having my own staredown with the beast. But what it will do is potentially isolate those who are in the thick of the fight. Instead of closeting away the term, maybe we should focus on opening up, encouraging dialogue, and sharing our stories.

When you think about the words we’ve given to other precarious things in life, they don’t all have the same kind of tiptoe-around-it energy. So, should CANCER be put in the same category? I’m leaning towards a ‘no’ on that one. It’s not just about whether we can pronounce the word without tripping over societal taboos; it’s about Staring the Beast in the Eye and showing it we’re not intimidated by a mere label.

"a scrawney man with disheveled hair and clothes looks defiantly and bravely into the large eye of a large purple tumor monster, he is not afraid but the purple tumor is scared"

“Staring the Beast in the Eye”

In the end, there’s power in words, but there’s even greater power in our reactions to them. I learned that HUMOR can be a mighty sword in battles like these. So, while I’m here to remind you that asking questions and getting timely check-ups can save your life, I’m also here to say, it’s okay to laugh in the face of adversity. Giving CANCER another name like “HEFFIN FLEFFIN” or even “CRISP-MASS” won’t change the game, but changing our attitude towards it – now, that’s something I can swear by.

So don’t despair, just remember, ask a lot of questions and do it early, because the CRISP-MASS loves to grow and multiply. For me? TRIAL or not, HE miraculously found CANCER for me, so, actually, I’m BLESSED. So, my new MOTTO is One Day and One Surgery at a time.

Leave a Comment