The other ‘C’ word

In 2013 the press said Brian May, the Queen guitarist, was undergoing tests for cancer due to serious back pain. “On hearing the C word something happens inside you,” he commented.

He is talking about fear. When we are frightened the body responds immediately. The amygdala sends a panic message to the central nervous system. Blood pressure rises, heart rate increases and the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released. If fear continues over a prolonged period, judgment becomes impaired and the body removes resources from disease-fighting mechanisms to deal with the immediate threat perceived by the brain. For anyone wishing to boost their immune system and fight an internal, rather than external intruder, things couldn’t be worse.

We need a new word for cancer. Scientists have been saying for some time that there are now so many different types of cancer with different prognoses that the generic term should be revised. The problem is many of us were at an impressionable age when cancer was equated with a death sentence. Medicine has progressed since then, but even for the most serious forms, there is always hope, as witnessed by those who have experienced spontaneous remission. The spontaneous healing of cancer is a phenomenon that has been witnessed for thousands of years, often linked to a sudden stimulation of the body’s immune system as a result of an unconnected infection. This is a completely different approach to chemotherapy which weakens immunity. But there are other cases of remission, often combined with a spiritual experience which throws light on a conflict that has caused the body to turn against itself, as well as well-documented cases of individuals visualising the cancer cells dying and meditating their way back to health.

We need a new word for cancer. Temporary cellular modification syndrome might do it, though it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.Perhaps a nickname then, such as the bunkum bump, the dead dingbat or to use a pythonesque reference, ‘the ex-parrot’. At any rate it should be a name associated with The Old Me. Any ideas?

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