There was a report in the paper today suggesting that within about twenty-five years the vast majority of cancers will be “manageable”. That is, they will be brought under control by a cocktail of different treatment options and then the patient’s condition will be managed by regular doses of maintenance drugs to keep the wretched disease under control. The simple effect will be that many fewer people will die from cancer and many more will be able to live longer with cancer. This is great news. The simple fact is that treatment for cancer is on the whole getting better and people are living longer. Only just a few decades ago, childhood leukaemia (which my son Jamie had) had a very poor outlook; now well over 90% of children survive. This coming Friday morning at 9.15am we will gather in church for Morning Prayer and will give thanks for the work of Macmillan Cancer Support and we will offer up to God the names of all those known to us who have been touched by cancer – in whatever way. Please feel free to email me or the office if you would like someone’s name added to the list. Afterwards, we will adjourn to St Denys for coffee and cakes – please do join us for as much or as little of the morning as you like.
Jackie Collins, the author of the rather racy novels, died at the weekend of breast cancer, aged seventy seven. She kept her illness largely to herself – not even telling her sister Joan until a fortnight ago – and dealt with it with quiet dignity and privacy. She refused to let cancer define her or have the last word. She insisted, all through her treatment, on just getting on with life. I admired greatly her approach. When my first wife was dying from cancer, although I was very angry with God, I found that certain passages in the bible spoke very loudly to me, and were a comfort, especially this one from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”.
With every blessing,