CLL Support Association
8,927 members14,263 posts

‘It’s your fault you got cancer’: the blame game that doesn’t help anyone

‘It’s your fault you got cancer’: the blame game that doesn’t help anyone

'Culturally, we have very clear ideas about cancer: what someone with cancer looks like, how it must feel, and even what it says about those who get diagnosed.


This means those with the disease are exposed to a range of cultural logics that misrepresent the experience of cancer, and can even induce distress and shame.

Alexandra Gibson, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Sociology, UNSW Australia, Alex Broom, Professor of Sociology, UNSW Australia and Zarnie Lwin, Senior Lecturer, Royal Brisbane Hospital, The University of Queensland argue that blaming cancer patients for engaging in a lifestyle that puts them at increased risk of developing cancer doesn't help anyone.

Finally, note this statement, which is of particular relevance to those with CLL, where we are yet to discover any strong causative links:

'While it’s important to take care of ourselves, we need to remember that not all cancers are preventable. The fact is, one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetime, often regardless of their life choices.'


2 Replies

Neil, I appreciate your posting and sourced article.

Of importance, this article references the social determinants of health- thus moving the discussion of health (inclusive of cancer) from the person (individual) to macro issues. In Canada, much research in health (in the context of social determinants) has been explored by Dennis Raphael.

As per Raphael and Mikkonen,

"The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have come to be known as the social determinants of health".

Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts considers 14 social determinants of health:

1. Income and Income Distribution

2. Education

3. Unemployment and Job Security

4. Employment and Working Conditions

5. Early Childhood Development

6. Food Insecurity

7. Housing

8. Social Exclusion

9. Social Safety Network

10. Health Services

11. Aboriginal Status

12. Gender

13. Race

14. Disability



Great Post Neil, and a reminder that it is not a punishment anyone deserves. Sh1t happens and fortunately we live in an era where medicines and treatment are reaching an exciting crossover point where I understand 50 percent of cancers are curable. We aldo have great organisations such as the CLLSA to support and share concerns with each other and feel empathy and support from fellow CLL'ers. Live life and enjoy Christmas everyone!



You may also like...