Cancer Is Not A Simple Disease Or Disorder?

926 WordsJul 4, 20154 Pages
My students were, for once, captivated. Two days each term, they stow their dislike for science when we talk about cancer. This is something they can finally relate to and connect with on a deeper level. What I strive to teach them is that cancer is not a simple disease or disorder. There will never be a single cure for cancer because it is caused by mutation after mutation, with no two patients following the same path. My kids asked questions. They struggled to reconcile the lesson with their conception of cancer. And from the back of the room, a small voice said “That’s so f***** up!” When I asked her to elaborate, she said, “My little sister is in the hospital. We took her to a bunch of different doctors, and they all said there was nothing wrong, but now she’s really sick. They didn’t believe her and kept telling my mom everything was fine.” Other students chimed in with their own stories of concerns ignored, of family members diagnosed too late for treatment, of not being able to pay for medications and doctor’s visits. Sensing a teachable moment, I dropped the rest of my planned lesson and opened the floor for discussion. The student who sparked our discussion asked, “Why does this keep happening?” This question has plagued me for years. I grew up in an affluent family in a mostly-white suburban town. I received an excellent public education. I never needed to worry about food or money and I didn’t need to work to support my family. Most conspicuously, I never had

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