Cancer – is it bad luck or a blessing in disguise?

by Anne Malatt, Australia 

When we receive a diagnosis of cancer, or hear of it in someone else, our immediate response has often been to say that it is “bad luck.”

In fact, a recent study attributed two thirds of cancer cases to ‘bad luck’. (1)

What is luck, and what does it have to do with cancer?

When something ‘good’ happens, like getting a great job or buying a new car, people tend to say “aren’t you lucky?” And when they do, we can be quick to point out that we worked hard for it, and we deserve it.

Yet, when something ‘bad’ happens, like a diagnosis of cancer, we are not so quick to take the credit for it! We are very willing to call it ‘bad luck’.

So, is it luck, or is it not? Are we responsible, or are we not? And if we are, how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things? 

Many people who have had cancer say that it was a blessing; that it was the best thing that could have happened to them. It gave them cause to stop, to re-evaluate their lives and the way they had been living, and to make changes that they knew, deep down, needed to be made; and that their lives after cancer were much more full, rich and joyful.

I know I feel like that. The diagnosis of cancer was a shock, and a very big STOP in my life. It was no longer possible to delude myself that everything was fine, that there was “nothing to see here”, as I used to be fond of saying. It was a huge wake-up call, and a call to live a more loving and true way of life, in a much deeper way than I had been willing to look at life, up until then. It was a call to make the changes that deep down, I knew I had to make.

I am free of cancer now, but if I start to walk in the old way, to make the same old choices again, my leg gently calls me back, with a little twinge, a gentle reminder that the way I am walking is no longer true for me, and offers me an opportunity to come back to me, to who I truly am.

What if cancer were not a curse, but our body’s way of getting rid of something that does not belong to it, that should not be there? And what if that something got there because of choices that we made, and the way we were living?

If we could see life that way, the diagnosis of cancer, or any other serious illness, could become an opportunity to look deeply at ourselves, at our lives, and to live in a way that was truly loving, caring and supporting of ourselves.

And if we saw cancer in that light, it could indeed be a blessing, no longer in disguise!



Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions
Cristian Tomasetti, Bert Vogelstein ,Science 2 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6217 pp. 78-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260825


791 thoughts on “Cancer – is it bad luck or a blessing in disguise?

  1. Thank you for such a tender blog Anne – it takes all the ‘fight, fear and mysticism’ out of cancer and allows us to consider the part we may have been playing, through our own choices.

    1. That’s it – our choices. And the great thing is that we can choose differently and new every moment of every day and if we do start to choose self love over comfort, honesty over illusion and many more, then we can definitely make a difference as to how our body will feel and what it wants to communicate too.

  2. Saying that something is a result of luck is an excuse for not taking responsibility of our choices and actions.

  3. Thank you Anne for these graceful considerations. It is a common misconception amongst us to view cancer as ‘bad luck’ as if it were a random disease that just happens to one person over another with nothing prior in place to have seeded it forth. Such a view speaks of the ignorance that we have set in place to not take responsibility for the choices we have made in life and in so doing we completely miss the blessing on offer that such a condition can present to us if we are truly willing to heal the ill momentums that have seeded such a disease in our body.

    In order to truly arrest these, we need to understand that a simple gesture such as putting the needs of others ahead of tending to ourselves over time and repeated often, can become the genesis of the cancer which then forms. This is why cancer seems to happen to ‘good people’, as the saying goes. This is not to promote a selfish way to be, nor suggest that we do not deeply care for those around us, for this we should, but more to say that we need to tend to our own garden first so that when in full bloom we have something to offer others that is not at great expense to ourselves.

    1. ..’we need to tend to our own garden first so that when in full bloom we have something to offer others that is not at great expense to ourselves.’ This is a lovely way of expressing what we can bring, tending to ourselves so that we can tend to others.

  4. I have only read to the following “Are we responsible, or are we not? And if we are, how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things?”
    This gives me a moment to stop and consider just how little responsibility I used to take for the ‘bad’ things in life, and how inadequate and not good enough I felt that such things would happen to me. Like they were proof I was a bad person. Yet the moment I began to take responsibility for my life, I felt empowered, as I realised that if I am responsible for where I find myself in life, that I can change what doesn’t work any more. It is very steadying and brings a feeling of solidness when we accept our choices, and ponder on making different ones, as one begins to live life, with full responsibility for our choices being our guide.

  5. Sharing how your body speaks loudly now if you return to walking in an old way of being are words of wisdom that can offer many the key to halting disease in our bodies, before we get to the point of a cancer diagnosis. Many will want to fight such an offering and continue to make cancer and other illnesses about environmental causes or the inadequacy of our medical systems. But is the only real fight the one to not take responsibility for our behaviors?

    1. Great question Leigh – “But is the only real fight the one to not take responsibility for our behaviors?” – It sure is, as if we did then we would have to make changes and step out of our perceived comfort…which often in the end was not comfort at all but a ‘checking out’ from the choices we make in our lives only to be brought back to what is truly happening within with a big bang…

  6. When we see things as luck it is as though we are removing our responsibility. It can seem easier to take responsibility for the good in our lives but when it’s not so good, luck can be quick to get the blame. Luckily (pun intended) we can’t remove our responsibility.

  7. ‘What if cancer were not a curse but the body’s way of getting rid of something that doesn’t belong to it, that shouldn’t be there.’ Great point Anne. Our bodies are amazing and give us illness and diseases when we haven’t listened to their more subtle messages – and ignored their earlier signs to encourage us to make different lifestyle choices. Who ever smoked their first cigarette without coughing? Or first tasted alcohol (not sugar-laden alcopops) without making a face? Ignoring such messages at our peril, it can then bring cancer as a wake-up call to greater responsibility. But even after such a huge wake-up call it is all too easy to go into denial and return to old ways of comfort. Time for us all to step up. Your blog needs to be widely read and acted upon Anne.

  8. It is so easy to go into blame – our genes, our family history etc, when we receive a diagnosis of cancer, anything rather than take responsibility for our part in its manifestation. However when we do claim that responsibility we can feel empowered and find ways to support our own healing, rather than becoming a victim to the system. Making different lifestyle choices is key, for if we return to the same old ways after surgery etc it is possible that secondaries (metastases) can then occur.

  9. So many people who have cancer talk about the fact that it has changed their lives for the better. It literally forces people to make lifestyle changes to ones that fully support them, and in this they get to feel how amazing they can feel with a whole lot of extra care. The choice is then theirs to continue this or not.

  10. “So, is it luck, or is it not? Are we responsible, or are we not? And if we are, how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things?”

    This line was a stand out for me and it got me thinking about how much we do this. We like the the good things and not so much the bad things. But what it feels like you are offering us here, is to take the good and bad out of it, and just look at what is happening and what could be learnt from it.

    1. So true Sarah – That line stood out for me too and it puts it very clearly in a nutshell as we can apply this to all areas of life. Stopping the judgment and looking at what is, deeply and honestly, will go a long way in supporting us to heal.

  11. The moment we consider it as luck, we remove ourselves from the equation because we don;t want to consider the responsibility we have in every single moment. And responsibility has nothing to do with blame – far from it. Illness is a communication from the body – we lace it with the negativity and dread because of our attachments and beliefs that ultimately stem from not wanting to take the responsibility we are being called to take.

  12. This is something I also experienced, albeit in a watered down version- “Many people who have had cancer say that it was a blessing; that it was the best thing that could have happened to them.” I had the threat of cancer looming and when I found that out, it made me evaluate my choices in life very quickly and propelled me into taking serious and drastic actions as to situations and decisions in my life, with the result being that cancer in the end did not manifest and my life took a totally different turn I could never have expected. Yes, it was a blessing indeed …

  13. Thank you Anne for this great blog. Once we begin to realise that there is no such thing as random because ‘everything is energy and therefore everything is because of energy’ we know that there is no such thing as ‘bad luck.’ The concept of luck has to be one of the most fraudulent ideas launched upon humanity. It creates sympathy (in one direction) as well as envy (in the other direction)! Every move we make and thought we think will contribute to ease and harmony in the body or not. We are responsible for the ‘kinks’ in our body as I can so clearly feel now.

  14. How different our healthcare systems, GP practices, hospitals, would be if they were founded on what is said here in this blog – that illness, disease, ailments, aches, pains are all an opportunity for us to look at the way we are living our lives – and are also a call for us to connect more deeply with our body.

  15. It is a pity we see disease as some form of bad luck that has been cast upon us. If we saw it as a blessing, the way in which we would be with it would be entirely different and I feel there would be a much more balanced and healthier approach to it.

  16. “It gave them cause to stop, to re-evaluate their lives and the way they had been living, and to make changes that they knew, deep down, needed to be made; and that their lives after cancer were much more full, rich and joyful.” I know this feeling even though I did not have cancer or any other big disease. Being ill gives a moment to stop and evaluate how we have been living, for me it often feels like a ‘I knew something was not right in the way I was living’. Seeing illness and disease in this way is a blessing indeed, a little nudge of our bodies that the way we are using our body might need to change, and a little suggestion as well to follow these feelings of ‘this way of living is not quite right’.

    1. Although looking at society we might conclude the opposite, so prevalent is ill health everywhere, we are designed to be healthy, not ill and if we are ill, it is always telling us something that we need to pay attention to and perhaps make adjustments to the way we live.

      1. You are right Doug, although in a way the illness and disease is still a blessing in the way it is seen that the way we are living as a society is not truly working. If we would take away medicine it would even be more extreme! Yet the point is almost no one sees illness as a message from their body that something needs changing and that’s why illness and disease keep rising and rising.

      2. Yes it is odd that no one makes the connection between illness being a message from the body. We prefer the it just happens story as that absolves us of any responsibility.

  17. From my experience with breast cancer, most certainly not bad luck, but a blessing with invaluable lessons to be learnt. Thank you Anne for an insightful blog and a beautiful reminder of my experience with cancer.

  18. Changing one’s attitude to sickness from one of ‘something is wrong’ to one of recognising that it is a consequence of one’s choices leads to an empowered way of being as one becomes no longer a pawn in the game of life but a co-creator with God.

  19. Anne you pose some great questions here, for myself I felt my cancer was a great wake up call to how I had been living, I had taken sports and my body to the extreme, and there came a point where my body was no longer able to cope with the choices that I had previously made. I am now more aware of how my choices affect not only my life but my body too, and I am grateful for the stop and the wake up call my body gave me.

  20. Great point Anne, we deserve the so called ‘good’ things the same as we deserve the so called ‘bad’ things, as it is our soul keeps us awake with illnesses and disease that we are living in ways that are not loving for us. That to me is a bigger present than a new car.

  21. If we start seeing illness as a way the body has to get rid of things that do not belong in there, we would start appreciating both it and the body of ours. This is part of the 24/7 working for us of our body.

  22. My medical past does not show any cancer but I have had some medical challenges in diseases and illnesses. And all of them brought me richdom in my heart. Becoming aware of so many behaviors which made my body ill. And how empowering it is to see how we can make a difference by the way we choose our next step.

  23. We may like to think that cancer is bad luck but that is avoiding feeling the truth and taking responsibility for how we have been living that caused that flavour of cancer. Cancer like other disease does not just happen out of the blue for no reason.

  24. When we look honestly at issues that we have with our physical body we can understand that there is an underlying cause and effect. We are offered the opportunity to make changes to the way we are living and appreciate the effect in how we feel.

  25. Luck – good or bad – has nothing to do with the state of our health – or anything for that matter. We create every situation that arises for ourselves: every moment, movement to movement.

  26. What if we were to admit that there is no such thing as bad luck and that we are the architects of all that happens to us? Surely this would be a huge step towards honesty and taking responsibility for our own health?

  27. A beautiful expose Anne, showing that when we look at illness in a truthful light we see all the healing that’s on offers.

  28. Responsibility is not a switch that we can turn off when we do not want to accept the reality that our choices have lead us to the point we are at. If we are willing to look at it and go a little deeper we will see, as you have brilliantly shared Anne, that illness and dis-ease are a blessing, an opportunity for us to adjust the way we are living, arrest the ill momentums we are in, reflect on the quality of energy we are aligning to and allow corrections in our bodies to make way of a deeper connection to who we truly, the vibration of love, our being-ness, in order for us to then magnify this quality through our bodies. This is what true healing for our body and being is, and when embraced we realise how empowering embracing responsibility is.

  29. I am not sure I could bring myself to call cancer a blessing, but I get what you are saying. Personally, I would prefer to call it a correction, in an attempt to rebalance that which was so imbalanced. From that point of view it is a blessing, in that it may stop or offer a correction to one’s ill momentums. But even the fact that such a thing was required to happen – that such a “blessing” was called for in order to assist one to come back to themselves – is in many ways a tragedy.

  30. What is great is that if we take the time to feel into why we had the particular kind of cancer we ended up with we can see how, in particular, certain behaviours have been harming us even though we thought , or chose to think, they were ok. In truth, it is why we resorted to those behaviours in the first place that holds the key to understanding and then putting in place ways of caring and loving ourselves more deeply ensures that we awaken to more of the truth from within ourselves and with a true intention to heal we are supported back on our journey to a more soul full way of being.

  31. It is amazing how the body can twinge on an old injury when we drift away from our loving ways, and communicates clearly with us. I have a right inner ear which tells me very loudly when I am not listening to what I have already clocked to be true.

  32. ‘…how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things?’ Your logic is irrefutable here Anne. We can’t, of course, abrogate responsibility for either. Everything we do, every situation we find ourselves in, is the sum of our choices; of each and every move we make in life. It’s not random, it can’t be written off as purely genetic, and the gods aren’t angry or happy with us.

  33. “Many people who have had cancer say that it was a blessing; that it was the best thing that could have happened to them. It gave them cause to stop, to re-evaluate their lives and the way they had been living, and to make changes that they knew, deep down, needed to be made; and that their lives after cancer were much more full, rich and joyful.” Absolutely – if we call illnesses like cancer “bad luck” we miss out on the golden opportunity that has presented to us to clear our old ways that don’t serve us anymore and to start afresh and choose the life we truly want to lead.

  34. What I feel you are saying in this blog Anne and what I am gathering from your other blog about when you had cancer, is very powerful indeed. In fact, this message is very consistent through out this entire website, it is communicating responsibility, without judgement or blame, it is asking the reader to consider that we are not victims of circumstance and it is also encouraging the public to always seek Western Medical advice. Wether that is going to the Hospital, GP, Nurse or the Dentist, they are all an act of self care and love. It is reminding us that when we take these visits and check ups that we cannot dump the issue onto the person in the white coat, that healing is not about a cure but about an awareness that either harms or heals, it’s about the way that you move and how and what that then communicates to others. Each choice in life is a movement, it has a momentum, most people that have cancer end up changing this movement or momentum, it’s no wonder cancer is prevalent, the body has yet again found a movement that steers us back to our soul.

  35. I love that your questions call us to consider the possibility that there is more to a disease than chance and that in that there is not only a responsibility to be taken but an opportunity to embrace… to look more deeply at ourselves and our lives and move in a way that is more loving, caring and supportive. A stop moment that is a blessing, to reevaluate and address, not just bad luck and therefore an excuse to remain disregarding in our choices.

  36. Taking responsibility for our life experience is very different to blaming ourselves for our it, and this distinction is a very important if one is to lovingly forge a new path forward.

  37. When we categorise illness and disease as simply ‘bad luck’ we are missing something huge. We know more about our lifestyle affecting our health so why do we dismiss these things as ‘bad luck’ – it is like sweeping it under the carpet, when it could be a great opportunity to make real change in the way we live.

  38. If we all stopped seeing our life events and illnesses and diseases as mere chance or bad luck, we could then open ourselves up to the fact that there is more to life than meets the eye.

  39. All the blogs on this site consistently refer to cancer in such a light way it is refreshing to read. It need not be scary or something to fight or reject it’s existence when responsibility is taken. This could be said for any condition really.

  40. I wonder what life would look like if we took the stance that there was no such thing as “bad luck”, and that we were the initiators and the creators of everything that happened in our lives, whether that be an illness, or loosing a job, or a marriage breakdown, and whatever happened it was our movements and choices that led us there.

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