Of all the weaknesses of mankind, his most damning and irreparable, the source of all other sins and his perpetual undoing is his unquenchable affinity for vanity. We are often reckless, unconscious of our niche, and deliberately oblivious of how our unending attempts to align to trends result in damage not just to us, but to those around us and to those who should come after.
According to the US National Cancer Institute, ninety-five percent of all cancers are from acquired genetic mutations; just 5% are inherited. It means that our world is fast becoming the cauldron that consumes us all, that one of Medicine’s biggest challenges (Cancers) is not mainly natural, but acquired; our apathy for caring for the gifts God has given us through nature has become the most potent and significant trigger decimating the human race most slowly and painfully- cancer (a life of pain, and unending expenditure of resources and emotions), and we enable this attitude, we justify these reckless choices by the popular Nigerian maxim, “one thing must kill a man”.
Despite the worldwide massive losses exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, L’Oréal, a cosmetics company, made a revenue of about $34 billion; most people in the world were stuck in their homes for most of the year, but somehow, they all had to look beautiful! Then the retailing giant, Amazon, estimates her grocery sales (most of which are processed foods) to reach an incredible $100billion by 2025! Our hunger for vanity and temporary satisfaction promotes the multibillion-dollar global industries specialized in the creation of our poisons ranging from skin-destroying “beauty products”, ozone layer-depleting aerosols, to the hypothalamus-stimulating processed foods industries; and the price for these is our long-term health and that of our God-given earth.
The theme of World Cancer Day 2021 is “I am and I will”, a reminder of the significance of each human, the potential impact of our every decision, and the unlimited capacity we have to change the tide of our fight against cancer for good. It is a rallying cry for a more responsible human race, more deliberate efforts with our daily choices, and a call to individual commitment to making a difference.
For those struggling for their lives, there are great strides being made daily in cancer care; medications whose mechanisms of action once thought unworkable are being released into the market for use, and survival rates are improving for most cancers as Science makes giant leaps. I have also seen medical miracles being wrought, and God coming through when all limits are exhausted. You must keep up hope, for a man consists not of only his body, but also his soul whose resolve will keep the body alive. I have had to privilege of seeing quite a number of patients struggle for their lives; some with sheer will make strides medically thought impossible, the Lord making interventions to give remission and restore health, or give conviction to a peaceful passing when the time is right.
To the rest of those who live cancer-free, while indeed every human is on palliative care (we all began to die the day we began to live), we must take care of our bodies and help others do the same as long as the time God has given us here is not done yet, as our best chance is a collective fight to attenuate the factors that increase our chances of joining the incidence. And as we celebrate World Cancer Day 2021, may we make deliberate changes, and may our hearts remember to pray for those who are down today and those on the frontlines of cancer research and care. Let us reaffirm our resolution to at least not be a part of the problem; be deliberate about the things we consume, use, and expend. Finally, let us remember, the Earth is the Lord’s, a gift to us, and it is our duty to be good stewards, and maybe, as a more responsible race, we can partner with the Lord to make a cancer-free world.
Dr. Sunday Andrew Jr
Medical Officer, Belam Oncology Hospital, Abuja