Thursday, July 15, 2010
Cancer Concepts: As a class of diseases that involves the uncontrolled growth of cells, cancer generally ravages the mind, body, and soul to the point of non-existence. Most cancers present themselves as malignant tumors that tend to divide and conquer otherwise healthy tissue. Cancer treatment, for the most part, includes three basic options: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. While surgery entails the physical removal of cancer, chemotherapy treats the disease systemically with agents that inhibit the reproductive capacity of cells. Radiotherapy, on the other hand, uses ionizing radiation to cause cell death in targeted locations, which also alleviates the various symptoms that are typically associated with a cancerous malignancy. But the ultimate philosophical questions surrounding cancer do not necessarily involve how to treat it. Existentially speaking, the causes and purposes of cancer serve as the primordial pillars in a philosophical debate. For if Sartre is correct, and existence does indeed precede essence, then cancer can be understood as a natural component of the body's self-destructive mechanisms. That is, when the time comes to move from this life into the next, the body initiates a series of ruinous processes to incite cell death. And as Nietzsche concludes, "there is more wisdom in your body than in your best wisdom."