Thursday, August 5, 2010

The High Cost of Not Dying

It may be too hard to read if you have cancer but if you have a loved one with cancer you must read the Annals of Medicine article by Atul Gawande in the August 2 2010 issue of the New Yorker magazine.

With compelling stories and plenty of grey in a black and white world Gawande invites us to consider what it means to be dying—especially of cancer—when there is no end of treatments and procedures that can be tried, applied and administered.

Most interesting is his challenge to us about how death itself has changed because we no longer stop and let a person experience it.

This excellent essay walks us through the very high cost of cancer in both dollars and healthcare system costs and the cost to us as people when we treat cancer as a problem to be fixed. We lose not just dollars but part of our humanity—and for those of us who care for or have cared for someone with cancer—we lose an essential piece of being a loved one in the truest sense of that term.

This August 2 issue is on newsstands or at your local library. Check it out. Make copies to share with friends. Talk about it now.

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