A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer| Complicité | Dr Aarash Saleh

I’m Arash, I’m a specialist trainee
doctor in respiratory medicine so in other words I treat all kinds of
diseases affecting the lungs. As a doctor
I’m part of the team that helps to diagnose and treat patients with cancer
in particular lung cancer. I think it’s useful if we use it to mean
our sort of collaborative attempt to improve the treatment and diagnosis of
cancer. I get worried if it’s a terminology that moves us away from
healthy understanding of our mortality. I think I would call it living with
cancer or living through cancer because I think it’s really the thing that
we should emphasise is how you live your life and how you get the most out of
your life whether you survive or not, the emphasis is on
how you manage with cancer. I think the worst type of advice is to
reject medical treatments, drugs or surgeries, radiotherapy on the basis that
there are natural or on a basis of just a broad mistrust of doctors. If you
decide not to have those treatments that is often very reasonable thing, but I get
very worried that when people make those decisions for sort of, misguided reasons
that causes a lot of suffering. A common myth about cancer is that
cancer itself – a diagnosis of cancer itself is a killer and that people are
not able to handle that diagnosis or that the knowledge that being given the
diagnosis is something that is irretrievable for them and I often
see relatives trying to protect their elderly mother or grandmother and when
they’ve got wind of the diagnosis, tell the doctors and the rest of the medical
team – just don’t tell them they can’t handle it – and that doesn’t turn out to
be the case, people can handle it people are stronger than we think.