As the spouse of a cancer victim, I must admit feeling a sense of vindication after reading this article, as it validates what I began to think early on in this journey:


This newly-published study indicates that 2/3 of all cancers are caused by DNA copying errors. Cancer triggered by copying errors could occur “no matter how perfect the environment”, says a co-author of this study. This explains why cancer can strike people with a very healthy lifestyle and no family history of the disease.

How many of us have felt the unintended sting from remarks from well-meaning friends who were clearly (to us, not to themselves) trying to self-protect:

“Don’t you think John’s cancer had to do with eating too much____ ?” (fill in the blank)

“Why are there so many cases of cancer now? Don’t you think it has to do with chemicals in our food? Eating too much fat. Too much sugar? Sedentary lifestyle?” (time to walk away now, this is the beginning of a rant…)

“I really believe  that if we just eat really healthy food and exercise, we won’t get cancer.”  (implication that John brought this disease upon himself, but the speaker is much smarter than the poor victim and invincible in their self-created armor)

Whenever I got caught in one of these conversational preambles,  it was like a stab in the heart. Couldn’t these “friends” see how self-serving these statements were? Didn’t they understand that the words they thought were supportive of us  were all about themselves and their own self- perceived superiority?

I don’t know about you other spouses of cancer victims and cancer patients out there, but I feel vindicated.  For those of you who do not have cancer, please read and heed to avoid causing even more suffering to a friend with cancer.


About surfingon

I live in Hawaii. I surf in the winter and swim in the summer. I have been a hospice volunteer with a contemplative-care oriented hospice for 25 years have been part of their team that trains new volunteers for the last 9 years. I have walked the colon cancer path with my beloved husband these past 5 years. He died very peacefully in April 2009. I now seek to share what we learned, to shed light on the many dark corners of this often mystifying, heartbreaking and heart-opening journey.
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