Two Evil Words

Cancer. Isn’t it amazing how one word can have such an impact and evoke such strong emotions? That one little word can flip someone’s world upside down and change their life forever. Cancer not only affects its victims, but the victim’s families as well.

            My grandfather was my absolute best friend. He taught me how to love the sport of baseball, as well as how to love a family member with all of your heart. A few years before I was born my grandfather received his first cancer diagnosis. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove a portion of his lung, significantly reducing his lung capacity but eliminating the tumor. This surgery was a huge success- when my grandfather was first diagnosed, he was only given a few years to live. However, my grandfather was a fighter and went on to live for 15 years after he was first diagnosed!

            The cancer came back time and time again, but my grandfather would not give up. He was a stubborn old man, and although some saw this as a character flaw, I saw it as something that kept him going. He fought the good fight up until his last breath. I saw cancer take a very active man and slowly take away the things he enjoyed doing. I would never wish seeing that on anyone, and I hope a cure is in the future.

            Another word, or date, that has the same effect as the word cancer is the date of 9/11. Images and scenes of that horrid day flood into my mind when I hear talk of that date. With the 15th anniversary coming up in just a few days, I have been thinking a lot about that fateful day in 2001. Although I was only 4 years old, I still remember the fear I saw in my parent’s eyes and the sorrow they expressed as they tried their best to explain to me what was going on in terms I could understand.

            I have learned a lot more now about that day now that I am almost twenty years old. I have seen the impact that it has had on the victim’s families, as well as the first responders and their families. I have learned stories from close friends about how some of their parents ran late to a meeting in the towers on that day, which ended up saving their life. I get chills just writing about it- I hope we never experience such a dark time ever again.

            Cancer and 9/11 seem like very topics to be bringing up, but according to a new study, there could be a connection between the two. In this article here, researchers have found that first responders are at risk for various types of cancer, including thyroid and prostate cancer. Researchers believe they are at a higher risk than others due to the debris they encountered while bravely entering the towers after the attacks (

            I find this article to be very intriguing given our recent talks in class about correlations and causation. Sure, the studies did find the first responders where at a slightly increased risk of getting cancer than the average population ( However, there is no real way of telling whether or not it is exclusively because of their involvement with the recovery efforts of 9/11. When you take a look at who the first responders were, you see they were people such as firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers. People in those professions face dancers every day that the normal person doesn’t that could cause cancer. Fire fighters are constantly dealing with spoke-filled buildings and dangerous substances entering their system. EMS personnel are constantly surrounded by sickness and germs. Although cancer is not something you can “catch” per se from someone, constantly being sick truly does take a toll on the immune system.

            Over-all, I sincerely hope that in the near future, nobody will ever have to deal with cancer. Cancer is an awful disease that must be stopped. As for the victims of 9/11, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the bravery and selflessness that they demonstrated on 9/11. I truly hope that given what they have been through, a battle with cancer is not in their future.

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1 thought on “Two Evil Words

  1. jnn5095

    Reading stories like this makes me extremely sad. I am so sorry that Cancer has affected people in your life. I understand how strong this has impacted your life. I like how you tied the disease to the horrific aftermath of 9/11. I would have never thought of that.

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