Not Cease from Exploration

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pssssttttt....Catherine, it wasn't the doctors that gave him cancer

I love the cult of celebrity that exists in this country.  No where else on the planet can you find people who are famous, for simply being famous.  Every once in a while though you do see a story that is interesting on a deeper level.  Case in point:  the cancer diagnosis of Michael Douglas.

If you haven't heard, Michael Douglas (who I first saw on the TV show "The Streets of San Francisco") has been diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer.  There are tons of article out there on the topic, so I'm not going to bother with a hyperlink, as I'm thinking that part of this story is pretty much self-explanatory anyway.

What I find fascinating is an article that appears in the current edition of People magazine, where the wife of Mr Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones complains about the diagnosis taking so long.  You can read that story HERE.  The first paragraph pretty much sums it all up:

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones admits having a hard time watching husband Michael Douglas battle throat cancer and has told People magazine she is furious with doctors for not detecting his disease sooner.

I do feel bad for Mr Douglas and his family, as getting this kind of news is no doubt one of the most difficult things a family can endure.  However part me read the article and thought that while it's not great that it took  time to get this diagnosed, maybe...just maybe...some of the rage should be directed towards the things that most likely caused the cancer in the first place.  To be just a bit harsh, it's fairly likely that Mr Douglas' smoking and drinking habits are the real villains in this story.  Don't just take my word for it, as the online cancer guide sums it up pretty directly:

Unlike other types of cancer the causes of throat cancer is quiet clear. People who smoke or otherwise use tobacco are at risk of developing the disease. Excessive alcohol use also increases risk. Smoking and drinking alcohol combined lead to an extreme risk for the development of the disease thus the known cause of throat cancer.

(link HERE)

I know that it's easy to simply blame someone else for a problem, but sometimes the real blame lies a little closer to home.  

Hopefully Catherine Zeta-Jones no longer smokes herself.  If she still does and is genuinely concerned for her family, perhaps some of her rage should be channeled into preventing her children from having to deal with another (future) cancer diagnosis. For example, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 80% of lung cancer deaths in women are directly attributable to smoking.  

Of course the moral of the story here is pretty clear:  if you smoke please try to quit. If you don't succeed, then keep trying.  This drug isn't worth sacrificing your health, your life, it isn't worth what you pay for it, and it certainly isn't worth the grief your family may very well have to go through when (and if) you come down with that future cancer diagnosis.

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