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!

Reference

(1) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6217/78.abstract

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

 

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 …

  6. 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.

  7. “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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. ‘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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. It is not a funny subject, but it did make me laugh when I read: “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’.” The fact that the way we live and our choices have an indisputable impact on our health is increasingly becoming common knowledge.

    Calling it bad luck just keeps us in the false belief that we are helpless and at the mercy of a random and senseless universe. Choosing responsibility and accountability is far more empowering since if we have a part to play in creating something, that means we also have the power to do something about it.

  18. Why does it often take an incidence of “bad luck” for us to stop and re-evaluate our lives? Maybe if we all came to realise that there is no such thing as “bad luck”, or any luck, when it comes to our health, but that in general it is the way we have been living that has lead to the unwelcome diagnosis. To teach our children to be responsible for their precious bodies from young would certainly, in my opinion, do away with blaming anything and anyone for what is going on inside us, and instead look at it as a “blessing in disguise”.

  19. We are funny how we view things, what is luck and does it really give us anything or is it more of a throw away line that we attempt to use to explain things. Are we ever really ‘lucky’ or is this word just a surface layer of what we can read deeper underneath. To have luck you would have to be lucky, such a crazy word when you use it over and over. How to we get from one place to another? Say from bed to the fridge, do we just by luck end up at the fridge or do we make a series of movements and choices to get there? Interesting how we apply luck blindly or is it just blind luck. Our choices and movements bring us to where we are and no luck just the truth of it.

  20. We are very selective at the time of taking credit for things that happen to us. We accept some and have a ready explanation for them. We do not accept others and have no explanation for them. So, bad luck. Bad luck may work for someone if that which happens to them is not really serious and recovers from it. But, if it is something really serious, bad luck does not really help the person, as it misses the point to be learnt and does not generate the changes the condition asks for as part of the healing that the illness offers.

  21. The idea, or rather, fact that cancer, like all illness and disease is our body’s way of discarding that which should not be in it, is pretty amazing, and whilst it isn’t pleasant to go through, what a blessing to have the opportunity to get rid of it.

  22. ‘…how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things? ‘ This line really stood out for me. Makes good sense. We don’t get to pick and choose, we create it all, so we’re responsible for it all.

  23. Interesting how we crave recognition for our contribution to our ‘good’ luck but are not so willing to take responsibility for our ‘bad’ luck. Accepting that everything happens for a reason has made me much more wiling to see the times when I have been stopped by illness as a blessing in disguise and an invitation to look at how I have been living and make adjustments.

  24. For me Anne the answer to your question is simple; having had and recovered from the ravages of breast cancer and the treatment was a divine blessing. Definitely a huge wake up call to make different more self loving choices which in turn leads to a more joyful purposeful life.

  25. To understand an illness as the result of our choices and way of living means to accept the full responsibility for it. To understand that the body develops the illness to clear itself of the accumulated disharmonious ‘ill’ means honouring the body for its wisdom, honesty and never ceasing activity to balance and sustain or restore harmony. This is huge in face of a world that lives mainly in ignorance and denial of these 2 universal laws expressing through our body – absolute responsibility or karma and the divinity of the body, ie the body always being a part of and being in alignment with the universe. Could it be that illness and disease are a way of cleansing, reflecting, healing, awakening awareness and calling us to account? Approaching illness and disease, the process of healing and the way we live based on this understanding will change humanity for good in every aspect of life.

  26. It is so shocking to receive a serious diagnosis such as cancer and yet we are often so surprised because we have been so unaware of the quality that we lived and how we treated ourselves.

  27. “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? What if indeed? Having had cancer myself also I know this to be true. As you mention, we are so quick to take credit for the good things that happen to us – but don’t want to take responsibility for the ‘bad’ things. We need to wake up.

  28. What if cancer is a wake up call, a call to take a moment or stop to look at how we are living, could we be living in a way that contributes to us having cancer? ‘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?’

  29. Hi Anne, your blog made me consider how we have pigeon holed cancer into ‘bad’ – assuming ‘good’ is to not have cancer. But what if we looked at it as a marker of truth – ie if we get cancer – what is it asking us to look at or heal? if we were to look at it this way it takes the shame and pity and sympathy away and therefore does not carry the ‘bad’ stigma we have attached to illness and disease. Now more than ever, with more and more people having an ailment in the world, isn’t it time to approach things in a different way, with truth?

  30. Ah yes, those ‘good luck’ and ‘bad luck’ labels are nothing more than a ‘convenient truth’.

  31. Definitely not ‘bad luck’ to get cancer. Even if we get tested for suspected cancer and then find out it isn’t that but some so-called ‘lesser’ illness or disease, we feel relieved. But however we have been living that led us to the diagnosis of ‘not cancer but something else’, could well become cancer if we do not change the quality of the way in which we live. It is a reprieve in some ways, but it is also an equal opportunity to cancer to stop, really take stock of how we have been living and make the changes needed to live in a more self-loving way.

  32. “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.” A beautiful appreciation of how our body lovingly tells us how we are, or are not, caring for ourselves.

  33. “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?” I absolutely agree Cancer is Not a Curse and for me when diagnosed with breast cancer it was an opportunity to stop and reassess life in every way and just the beginning of making loving and responsible choices for myself and body. The curse would be if I continued living in the same way pre-diagnosis as I am not sure where my life would be now.

  34. We so need stop moments… And we actually need signposts to guide us in how to have these moments without such big things happening to us… Because when we do stop, we have much more chance of actually feeling how we truly are and what is going on in our body.

  35. I had never really considered viewing the good luck, bad luck comments in that way but you are absolutely right, it seems that there is a selective abdication of responsibility and accountability dependent on how judged we are going to be by ourselves or others,

  36. I now view illness and disease as a clearing of what does not belong, and often a wake-up call to stop and reflect on the choices we have been making. When viewed this way there is no ‘fight’ against cancer, instead there is a choice to co-operate with the body, to listen to what it has to say and to support it to heal. Luck does not come into it.

  37. What a simple way to consider the reasons that we develop illness and disease. Its so true that ‘luck’ isn’t the reason for anything, ‘luck’ in life, both good or bad, is a direct result of everything we have chosen before.

  38. What I have found is that it is not so much the physical, psychological or emotional ailment or behaviour that is the biggest grip, but rather the relationship with the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Every time I take away the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label my relationship with the situation changes. So then what is our relationship with ‘good’ and ‘bad’?

  39. A simple message in this article that answers one of the worlds biggest questions “why me?”. When ‘bad things happen’ it is not because we are being struck down, punished or because we deserve it. It is a helping hand, a stop moment, a sign, a life line, a voice that has no words but if it did it would say ‘come back to what you know is true and I will reflect true health to you.’

  40. Another thing I have heard said about cancer is that ‘why does it happen to good people’ – as if getting cancer is a punishment for what we believe to be bad behaviour or actions. It would seem that this belief system is exposed as false by the fact that all kinds of people get cancer – so called good and bad people. My feeling is that there is a much bigger picture here, in the understanding of illness and disease, one that we are only just beginning to explore and one that will radically change the course of medicine.

  41. Many years ago I supported a friend going through treatment for Leukaemia. It was a time of deepening self-awareness for her which was very clear and bizarre as it might sound, she often looked radiant and more vital than she had before her diagnosis. I have heard many people say that getting cancer was a blessing for them and supported them to make different life choices. Perhaps then, making different choices is a preventative medicine in itself. It’s hard to measure really because we cannot know how many people would have become ill, but made proactive lifestyle choices that changed the course of their dis-ease. For me, there is an element of common sense in this though. Our lifestyle affects our health and wellbeing and therefore we can make choices that can change our course.

  42. What an inspirational blog Anne – from your first words until the last word I felt like I was getting a warm shower to remind me that I am the one who is responsible, and not my bad luck or my genes.

  43. I was in shock when I was diagnosed with a serious lung infection last year. I caused four (minor) car accidents in the three weeks after I heard it. After I came back to me, to rest, I could see it not as bad luck, but as a blessing. It allowed me the opportunity to look at my life where I was not living lovingly. For me it is absolutely clear that lifestyles are related to getting an illness and every type of unloving lifestyle leads to a different type of illness.

  44. There is so much out there about fighting and kicking cancer’s butt, and many cancer patients pride themselves on being able to get back to how they lived life before cancer… but with even more of a ferocity than before. Grabbing life and running with it so to say…. yet this is not true, and only a way to live with more of a drive. Could it be this mentality and livingness is what initiated the stop with cancer in the first place? Is that way of living really what we would choose to go back to if we really felt what our body was calling for?

  45. The result of seeing that there are no coincidences in life is absolute responsibility. Not in living a perfect life and not making mistakes, but understanding that everything our bodies reflect back to us, can be worked with, our sensitivity refined, our path of evolution understood and the greater truth about life itself revealed.

    1. Indeed we don’t take the credit for the so called ‘bad things” which happen in our body.
      We do take the credit if we do fitness and the muscles are showing off on the body. But if we create something else in the body we behave like victims as if someone else was putting it in us. As if things are growing in our body with no connection with us.
      That is very much not true. Every detail in how we move and how we live affects the conditions of our body. The quality in which we move can come from loving energy or forcing energy and that gives both a very different result in how truly healthy we stay in life.

  46. What if we are completely powerful in life, in the choice we choose to make? What if every situation and scenario is effectively controlled by us? Then we would have to say as you do Anne, that there is no such thing as luck, but just consequences of energy we align to in life. When you feel this to be true as I do, we can understand that no disease or illness can ever be ‘bad’ as it is simply giving us a reading on our relationship with our power.

  47. These are great questions for us all to ponder on – 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?. The more we accept this as the loving process that it is the greater the healing that can occur.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s