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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Causes - Is it your fault, Mum? Or Kate Moss'?

When I found a lump in my right breast in June, the wonderful NHS machine swung into action with well-oiled precision.  I had a lumpectomy, had endless meetings, had my chemotherapy and radiotherapy booked, was given endless leaflets, pamphlets and help line numbers.

At no point did anyone ask my mother if I had had a difficult birth.  Or my husband what our sex life was like.  Or what I thought had caused my cancer.  No one investigated my family dynamics, asked about my childhood or whether I had been sexually abused.

Now those good people in cancer care are doing sterling work in finding out what causes cancer and are are very helpful with public information about what to do to try and lessen your chances of getting it.  Simultaneously, they are using evidence based treatment to cure the cancer.   They manage to do all this without once inferring that it was my fault, my mother's fault, Kate Moss' fault or that I somehow willed myself to get cancer because I needed attention.

Why the heck are we fanny-arsing around with tripe like this?  Bless Sarah Ravin for her excellent refutation of this widely spurious article and to Laura (of course!) for bringing it to my attention.


  1. Please Charlotte, don't mince your words!! My dear mother attributed her friend's cancer to her difficult childhood and lack of loving from her parents, but she always did have some very odd ideas. OF COURSE Cancer isn't caused by such things -it's produced by a highly complex mix of of genetic and environmental factors, as are diabetes and asthma and heart disease and any other illnesses. WHY can't seemingly otherwise intelligent people work out that the brain an organ just as much as is the skin or the pancreas and that wasting time looking for underlying causes rather than treating the illness in eating disorders is as silly as asking someone who is struggling to breathe what might have initially caused them to develop asthma.

  2. I'm so glad that your physical illness is being handled so seamlessly! And I'm so mad that this most often isn't the case for mental illness. I, too, love Dr. Ravin's blog post. I linked to it on a reply to the Schneel piece! And I featured it in FB.