Cancer: The Nature of the Beast

Cracked Science

Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft wrote in Supernatural Horror in Literature that “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. I would argue that nowhere is this more visible in modern medicine than where the “C” word is uttered.


This simple word seems to have a paradoxical effect on most people. On the one hand, it evokes very concrete images and brings to mind the facts we know about the procedures and treatments associated with this disease. The word is potent and we seem to have a clear idea of what it means to be dealing with it. On the other hand, the word carries with it an aura of unease, a certain shapelessness, as if its identity is hazy and out of focus. While many people understand what “cancer” means practically, very few understand what…

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