Ten Commandments of Cancer

by Paul H. Klein, September 3, 1993

  1. Thou shalt regard the word, "Cancer", as exactly that:, a word. Nothing more, nothing less. For its original meaning has changed mightily over the years, as have such words as Smallpox, TB, and Polio, all once dreaded ailments, now non-existent as maladies. And thus shalt go thy Cancer. The answer shall come to those who shall be present to hear it. Be present when it comes.

  2. Thou shalt love thy chemotherapy, thy radiation, and thy other treatments even as thyself, for they are thy friends and champions. Although they exact a toll for their endeavors, they are oft most generous in the favours they bestow.

  3. Thou shalt participate fully in thy recovery. Thou shalt learn all the details of thy ailment, its diagnosis, its prognosis and its treatments. Thou shalt discuss them openly and candidly with thy Oncologist and shalt question all thou do not comprehend. Then, thou shalt co-operate intelligently and knowledgeably with thy doctor.

  4. Thou shalt regard thy ailment as a temporary detour in thy life and shalt plan thy future as though this detour had not occurred. Thou shalt never, at no time, no how, regard thy temporary ailment as permanent. Thou shalt set long-term goals for thyself. For thou WILL verily recover and thy believing so will contribute mightily to thy recovery.

  5. Thou shalt express thy feelings candidly and openly to thy loved ones for they, too, are stricken. Thou shalt comfort and reassure them for they, too, needest comforting and reassurance, even as thou doest.

  6. Thou shalt be a comfort to thy fellow-Cancerites, providing knowledge, encouragement, understanding and love. Thou shalt give them hope where there may be none, for in hope lies their salvation. And by doing so, thou providest comfort for thyself, as well.

  7. Thou shalt never relinquish hope, no matter how thou may feelest at that moment, for thou knowest, in the deep recesses of thy heart, that thy discouragement is but fleeting and that a better day awaits thee.

  8. Thou shalt not regard thy ailment as the sum total of thy life but as merely part of it. Fill your life with other diversions, be they mundane, daring, altruistic, or merely amusing. To fill thy life with thy ailment is to surrender to it.

  9. Thou shalt maintain, at all times and in all circumstances, thy sense of humour, for laughter lightens they heart and hastens thy recovery. This is not an easy task, sometimes seemingly impossible, but it is a goal well worth the endeavour.

  10. Thou shalt have enduring and unassailable faith, whether thy faith be in a Supreme Being, in Medical Science, in Thy Future, in Thyself, or in Whatever. Steadfastly sustain thy faith for it shall sustain thee.