Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Men, Women, and Cancer

U.S. News and World Report has an interesting article online called "Cancer: Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." It gets into the differences between men and women when it comes to cancer  -- not so much the physical differences, but the emotional and mental ones that come from a cancer diagnosis and everything that follows.

Women tend to be better communicators when they are faced with a diagnosis. Men tend to retreat to their cave.

Women tend to see things as a process, and look at the big picture. Men just want to get back to their old normal activities.

Women look online for support. Men just want to fix things.

The article struck me because I saw some of myself in it. As I've said here before, after the initial shock of my diagnosis wore off, I went into a pretty heavy depression, thinking about  my family, especially how they would be provided for. (I remember being thrilled when I realized my kids could collect social security until they were 18.) I came out of it because my wife pulled me out of it. I went into the cave; she made me come out and talk. We were kind of a textbook case.

Of course, the article also points out that these trends are sometimes stereotypes, too -- we don't automatically behave certain ways just because we are men or women. Apparently, in a surprise finding to a study, women spend more time online researching their own or a loved one's cancer. Goodness knows I've spent a little time online....

I think it's good to read about things like this, because maybe they give us a chance to stop and think about ourselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about our cancer that we don't think about ourselves, if that makes sense. We don't think about how we're handling it, if what we are doing is the best thing to be doing, if circumstances have changed -- if our loved ones are handling things OK.

So I like articles like this, that get me to think about myself. Might even end up starting a little discussion.

Even though I'm a guy, I think that might be a good thing.

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