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
783 thoughts on “Cancer – is it bad luck or a blessing in disguise?”
Anne it is interesting what you said about walking the old way, I noticed something the other day when walking, I could feel I was walking but leaning back, so I changed my upper body to be in line with my hips and legs and suddenly everything changed I was walking forward with a freedom I have never experienced before – there was such a flow it was incredible. So I wonder if we have been configured to move in a certain way which keeps us locked into making those ‘old choices’ which are so disrespectful to our bodies. That there is as you say a true way of walking free of ideals and beliefs we have unwittingly bought into.
Let’s be honest and say we tend not to listen to our bodies until we get the big message and then sometimes we still don’t listen. I have had many experiences when I thought I could get away with something that I know deep down was going against what my body knows to be true. I can definitely feel a stubbornness and arrogance when I over ride these feelings.
Anne you’re sharing has given a whole new perspective on this condition and could we apply this to all other diseases or conditions, the simplicity of a clearing, our bodies need to go through? Most people will not view it as a blessing, but when we look at people who have gone through any accidents, incidents, illnesses, most will admit their lives have never been the same, they have turned it around. So in some respect, it is a blessing. It made them stop and review their life and it is from there they make the choice of either living differently, or revert back to their old ways.
Every illness, call it what you want is an opportunity to look at your life through a magnifying glass – are you prepared to do this, is the question?
Attributing “luck” or “random” to anything is a sure way of limiting our ability to observe and learn from the lessons life offers us.
I agree, when we use “luck” we deny the responsibility we have played in bringing on the illness or condition. We then make it someone else’s problem and expect to be fixed. When we see the “blessing”, we take responsibility of our part and what it has to offer.
I have the understanding from the many patients I have met there is little sense of responsibility. Generally speaking the person is ill, they want to be made better or cured ASAP so that they can go home and carry on as normal. They just want to be fixed, they hate being in hospital and confined to bed or the chair next to the bed. And to be honest the way the health industry is set up there is seemingly very few asking patients to be responsible. The nursing staff are amazing and do a terrific job in getting the patients up on their feet again so they can go home. It’s a conveyor belt system, people come in they are given the utmost care until they are well enough to go home or into residential care. We do not question anyone’s life style or how they having been living up to that point. There is such a lack of responsibility is it any wonder that the health organizations around the world are struggling to keep up with the demands placed on them.
Letting things in the ‘luck hands’ keeps us in the surface of what every situation brings into our life.
Absolutely. When we live from this place we are in a deep denial of how we are feeling and keep things very one dimensional. However at some point those feelings have to rise to the surface and they have to be dealt with, but often at this point they are very much magnified and can come as a shock. If we deal with things as they happen and as we feel them then they don’t compound on each other and nothing is a surprise.
“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? ” Such a pertinent question Anne. Interesting to see how we want to evade responsibility for the ‘bad’ things that happen to us, but are more than happy to accept the ‘good’ things are down to us!
“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.” – I 100% agree. What an amazing opportunity of healing we are being offered.
“It was a call to make the changes that deep down, I knew I had to make.” When our body has an illness or disease it is a call to reflect on the way we have been living and treating ourselves. If we drive our car recklessly we are liable to have a crash and damage the car, the same with our precious body.
Any illness is an opportunity to grow and learn from – even a devastating diagnosis such as cancer. Yet I witness so many (who are over their illness) who want to return to their old ‘normal’ way of life, when it is that that often triggered the disease in the first place.
If we gauge our life by “luck” then we are essentially placing ourselves the same as a buoy in the sea, however if we look at life as every choice counts towards something then we place ourselves at the helm of the ship and hence can steer our ship as easily out of stormy water as we entered it in the first place.
Meg, I steered my ship into stormy waters recently and it felt horrible in my body, I traced the foul feeling back to a conversation I had had earlier that morning, I let an energy in that then played out badly a few hours later. This was actually a great lesson to always be aware of the energy that surrounds us rather than getting caught up in wanting to be ‘nice’. Playing ‘nice’ or being ‘good’ are both learnt conditions from childhood that after all these years can still play out if I drop my awareness of what is actually taking place in life. I am discovering that there is much more going on in life than what we can see and feel on the surface.
It’s great to bring in the blessing part of illness because once we realise the responsibility we have for the health of our bodies we could easily be hard on ourselves for having an illness. Realising there’s a grace at hand, that a greater healing is on offer by returning to a more loving and caring way of life we can instead choose to surrender, accept, and move with the healing.
“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?” Great questions Anne and something we all need to consider not only in relation to cancer but for any illness we may have.
This exposes the fact that we do know that what happens is not because of luck as we know we have worked hard for that new expensive car, it doesn’t just come, but don’t want to take this further to when we are experiencing an illness or disease. Anyway, our way of thinking as a society is not in the understanding that we create our own illness and disease by how we are living but this would explain why there is such a rise in illness and disease with all the great medicine that is around already. We might be looking in the wrong direction and have to make a shift in how we look at illness and disease and take more responsibility for how we are living.
“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?” If the world were to understand this fully and embrace it, what a difference our approach would be towards anyone who developed cancer and their consequent care.
“how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things?” Great question Anne, and one I feel will wake a lot of us up to what we are actually responsible for. There is no way we can pick and choose what we want to be responsible for, for we are responsible for the consequences of every choice we make, even the really awful stuff. But even the awful stuff comes with a valuable message, it’s simply up to us to stop and take note. But what we do next is once again our choice and that consequence of that choice our responsibility and so on.
So true – the word ‘luck’ diminished the responsibility factor of the choices we make. I guess those many who had cancer and say it was a blessing are still here alive to say that precisely because of the fact that they were able to see it as such, an opportunity to heal and let go what doesn’t belong.
When we realise and accept the fact that our quality of life is a direct result of the responsibility we choose to live with, we then will realise and accept the truth that there can be no luck involved, as all is a precise reflection of the quality of energy we have chosen to align to, be it love or all that is not of love, in which our choices are an indication of our alignment. We do have an incredible opportunity every day, through our connection to our body, to feel the degree of love we are choosing to live with, and make the necessary adjustment to honor more of the love that we are here to live.
Carola the words you used struck a note with me
‘…to honour more of the love that we are here to live’
where in life are we taught to honour our bodies? If we look at how we are all living the complete opposite to honouring is taking place. We live in a way that is very disrespectful towards ourselves so is it any wonder that our bodies have to pull us up so that we have an opportunity to possibly take notice of how we have been living that brought us to that stop moment. I’m discovering that actually our bodies are very intelligent much more intelligent than our minds.
This is very interesting to read, because I like the way that you describe the body as having an intelligence that knows what is harmonious and what is not, and how appreciated it can be when one is given the opportunity to actually stop and listen and heed what is being felt all of the time.
Great reminder Anne that we are responsible for our choices and the consequences of those choices, and in truth there is no good or bad luck.
It sure is Sally. It is actually very empowering to be open to the honesty and responsibility of where our choices come from and how they affect us, as we realise that we are the only one that is in command of the quality of life and love we live and share in the world.
“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’.” True and as you say we take credit for the good things that happen in our lives. Time for us to step up to take responsibility for all that happens to us – somewhere we chose it – cos of the earlier choices we made – a bitter pill to swallow sometimes.
Our bodies are so intricate and work really hard to keep our body in balance but sometimes they need the clearing that cancer can offer.
Nothing in life is random and especially not cancer so it behoves us to explore the excuses we make for not taking responsibility for our own lives.
‘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? Anne the awareness you came to around cancer is huge, some would agree with this truth but many prefer to see themselves as victims and put it down to ‘bad luck’, as always it’s how responsible are we willing to be and listen to what our body is trying to communicate to us.
“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?” A big question to ask, but a very important one. Any illness offers us an opportunity to reflect, so rather than focussing on just ‘getting better’ and wanting to get ‘back to life as it was’ what a great opportunity is being offered here for us to consider that perhaps ‘life as it was’ was in fact a major contributor to why we got sick in the first place.
Thank you Anne for your sensitive sharing. I know of at least 3 people who have a diagnosis of cancer just recently and all have very different ways of handling this. Plus different ways of treatment naturally so. We can all be offered an opportunity to grow through whatever illness and disease we may have. It is a great reminder for us to truly listen to what our bodies need and why we ignored these warning signs in the first place.
“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?” Ha ha. It’s amazing how our yardstick is so slanted and malleable depending on our convenience and what we are measuring.
Everything in life provides us with an opportunity to learn and evolve and cancer is right up there in that regard.
Anne I loved the point you make here ‘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’.’ Whenever we have any firm of illness or disease, we have to stop and look at our choices and how we may have contributed to our own illness.
Yes and also to know that it does not always mean we have done something “wrong” and it is not a punishment. The reading and understanding is different and personal for everyone. I had a friend who was doing amazingly well on every level who got cancer at the end of her life as a huge healing and clearing for her next life – even in death there was not one ounce of “bad” but absolute joy. I have also had friends who got cancer as a loving message that something needed to change in the way they were living – this is the more common occurrence.
If we did take credit for the ‘bad luck’ situations, in other words, take responsibility and accept our steps that led to or assisted the situation to arise. The healing of the condition or situation would go much deeper. Because when we don’t take our responsibility then the situation can repeat itself.
And the same would go for any illness. Having recently been diagnosed with an illness, it’s become very apparent how stuck in a belief we can be that illness is a bad thing. This is a great blog for shifting such a belief, and start to see the healing that’s on offer to deepen our love and care for ourselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
‘…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A beautiful expose Anne, showing that when we look at illness in a truthful light we see all the healing that’s on offers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.