Dictionaries list “cancer” as a noun (person, place or thing), but it should also be defined as a verb (expressing action, state, or a relation between things). Cancer produces “things” like tumors, but at the core it’s an aggressive, self-generating “action.”

We misunderstand cancer by making it a noun. I like to tell people that cancer isn’t so much something that you “get” or “have” as it’s something that the body does. … Instead of saying, “Somebody has cancer,” we should say, “They are cancering.” – Dr. David Agus

“Cancering” is a regular part of life and our bodies usually manage to keep it in check. But over the years—and for a variety of reasons—the balance can incrementally shift until a lethal tipping point is reached and we are diagnosed with “cancer.”

Cancering is not an invasion, it’s a mutiny. There are no foreign attackers or outside contagions. Our own cells are mutating and multiplying out of control. These rebels put their individual survival above the survival of the whole body.

Cancering is civil war—an oxymoron if there ever was one.


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