Nice people abound in the cancer world

Bob Riter is the retired Executive Director of the Cancer Resource Center. His articles about living with cancer appeared regularly in the Ithaca Journal and on OncoLink. He can be reached at bobriter@gmail.com.

A collection of Bob’s columns, When Your Life is Touched by Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals, and Those Who Care, is available in bookstores nationwide and through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. All royalties from the sale of the book come to the Cancer Resource Center.

One of the volunteers at the Cancer Resource Center recently said to me, “Every person I meet with cancer is nice.”

It’s an interesting observation and one that other volunteers have made as well.

I’ve been in the cancer world for more than 20 years and I think it’s generally true. Not because nice people are more likely to get cancer than cranky people, but because cancer tends to make most of us more humble and more appreciative of daily kindnesses.

You’d expect cancer patients to be angry at the world for having been dealt a crappy disease. Most do go through a period of anger or at least of cosmic irritation. But it doesn’t last long. We’re too busy dealing with treatment and moving forward with our lives the best that we can.

Cancer teaches us that we’re not invincible and that we have less control over our lives than we thought we did.

That’s humbling.

Our volunteers often strike up conversations with patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The volunteers are there to be helpful and they truly expect nothing in return. Patients intuitively understand this and appreciate that extension of kindness.

I also recognize that patients who reach out to support organizations like the Cancer Resource Center are, by nature, more social and more open to connecting than those who don’t reach out to us.

Although I have no data to base this on, I suspect that cancer patients feel more of a connection with their oncologists, oncology nurses, and radiation therapists than with any of their other health professionals.

People with cancer know that it’s a difficult disease for their professionals as well as for them. Nothing is certain and nothing is simple.

Not surprisingly, many cancer professionals are genuinely kind individuals. It’s a difficult career path if you don’t have a good heart.

The cancer world isn’t always a happy place, but there are good and kind people all around.

 

Click here for all of Bob’s columns

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
On Key

Related Posts

LIGHTS – CAMERA – ACTION!!

CRC wants to make you famous! We are looking for anyone who has been diagnosed with any kind of cancer for a portrait project “Why we are here!” There is

Collaboration with Hospicare

Hospicare & Palliative Care Services and the Cancer Resource Center  both share a common goal to be accessible to diverse populations throughout our community. CRC supports people living with and

New Zoom group!

Virtually Together is the name of our newest group. It will meet by Zoom and is open to everyone – cancer patients, survivors, loved ones, all genders, and those affected