Image result for image of children with cancer

The Monster Within

It kills people no matter how old or young they are. It takes friends, family, children away from each other. Before it kills people, it drains them from all the life they have left in them. There is no way to get rid of it. It is a monster and this monster is named cancer. Cancer is a disease that affects nearly two million people each year. Statistics shows that in just 2018 alone, 1,800,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States making cancer one of the most horrific monsters known. Research conducted by the American Cancer Society has found that there are different causes such as radiation from the sun, food, smoking, genetics, obesity, cell phones, etc(“What Causes Cancer”). However, with the many causes come very little treatments to help. Radiation and chemotherapy can only do so much yet sadly, there are no cures found. Everyone has a different idea of what a monster can be as some inherit them from their culture or religion and others believe it could be anything which harms a person. Monsters have different characteristics and can haunt people in any shape or form. There are different criteria which monsters fall into such as, they can always escape, can never truly be defeated, and embody our greatest fear, making cancer exemplify an undefeated monster.

Image result for cancer as a monster image

Monsters can always escape and can never truly be defeated. Almost all monsters are given a characteristic of immortality. According to Cohen’s “Monster Culture”, his second thesis states that monsters appear and disappear at any time. This defends the criteria that monsters fall into. The image above represents cancer as a monster and almost all cancer patients who have had cancer live in constant fear for its return. After enduring all the chemotherapy and radiation, their cells become more vulnerable and spread at a faster rate(“Cancer Statistics”). This constant fear of its return has many psychological effects on the patients. Breanne Lechner is an author who researched the quality of life for cancer patients. In her article “Cancer: Survival, Quality of Life”, Lechner states that most patients later on suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety due to paranoia and fear. Cancer is a monster because it appears and disappears at its own will. While it does so, it leaves behind its victims with psychological and physical complications which take a lifetime to heal. Therefore, cancer falls under Cohen’s second thesis and could be referred to as a monster.

Humans have been fascinated with monsters since the beginning of time. They have been shared and passes through cultures. For instance, the Latino culture shares the story of La Llorona, a woman who lost her children and searches for children who leave their parents(“La Llorona”). Monsters can embody our deepest fear and weaknesses. Each person has a different perspective on what a monster is. For some it can be a mythical creature and for others it could be a weapon. According to Stephen T. Asma, we create our own monsters by picturing our deepest fears(“Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears”). His novel discusses some of the worst fears and how they embody people’s anxieties and weaknesses. Cancer is an aggressive sickness and is the fear of many people due to the horror stories and movies portrayed through the media. It can travel throughout the body and land in any place for instance, the heart, lungs, brain, and breast. It all starts with abnormal cells which destroy, divide, and destroy body tissue. However, with this small malignancy comes great fear and sickness. This fear is a monster itself but the monstrous cancer is more harmful. Not only physical sickness but mental sickness as well.

Image result for breast cancer survivor

In the late 16th and 17th centuries, dead bodies were dissected in order to find the cause of death. There existed no such things as X-Rays or CAT scans and due to the lack of technology cancer was believed to be contagious and a major cause of death. After being disected, doctors searched bodies and later found out that cancer can spread if not treated properly. It was a suspicious invader of the body that was believed to be contagious and during this time, cancer was not known or researched enough(“History of Cancer”). Today, there is more representation of the various types of cancer and treatment. This is shown through media such as television advertisements, seminars, doctor advice, exams, ribbons, etc. The image above shows breast cancer survivors wearing the color pink which has become the color for breast cancer through advertisement and awareness, This representation raises education and support for those who have the disease. It also increases fear and caution for the disease as these advertisements depict how damaging and horrifying the disease is. The government plays a postive and impactful role in educating women by providing free screening test once a year. However, there is a lack of representation when discussing age. With increasing age come more risk of being diagnosed with cancer. Often, with the media there is a raised awareness for childhood cancer and funding yet not enough for adult cancer. Cancer is a malady which frightens all type of people, regardless of age. The representation is helpful but is no cure to fight off this deadly monster.

Diseases such as diabetes, smallpox, measles, and yellow fever, are all disease which modern science has found a cure to get rid of. However, cancer has existed since the existence of anceint Egypt and until this day, there is no cure. This highlights the seriousness and aggressiveness of this monster. It is constantly spreading into new places and can come back through blood cells(“What Causes Cancer”). America is one of the four top highest countries that has the highest rate of cancer. Out of every 100,000, 352 people are diagnosed with a form of cancer(“Global Cancer Data”). This is due to pollution, fast food, lack of excercise, and work related stress. Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases and if people do not educate themselves on the causes, then they are bound to be affected by it in one way or another.

Monsters fall into different criteria such as, they can always escape, can never truly be defeated, and embody our greatest fear, making cancer exemplify an undefeated monster. Myths of monsters have been shared in society since the beginning of civilization. As the world is constantly changing and fighting new battles, new monsters are being created. Monsters have qualities which make them fearful such as, can always escape, are never truly defeated, and embody our greatest fear, making cancer exemplify an undefeated monster. Although most monsters are man made creatures, cancer is one of the few biologically created monsters that millions of people must face each year. It is something which is represented constantly in media, raising awareness and money to help cure it. Although it does not shares the same scary features as a vampire or a demon, it still is one of the scariest, most deadly monster that attacks the people we know and love. Hopefully, researchers will soon find a cure to this monster and end the suffering of people, especially children, and let people live in health.

Works Cited

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster culture (seven theses).” Gothic horror: A guide for students and readers (2007)

Lechner, Breanne. Cancer: Survival, Quality of Life and Ethical Implications. Nova Biomedical, 2016.

Asma, Stephen T. On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears. Langara College, 2016.

Elk, Ronit, and Hope Landrine. Cancer Disparities: Causes and Evidence-Based Solutions. Springer Pub. Co., 2012.

Paquette, Katryn, et al. “Cancer Risk in Children and Young Adults Born Preterm: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Plos One, vol. 14, no. 1, 2019,

“What Causes Cancer?” American Cancer Society, 2017, www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes.html.

Cancer Statistics.” National Cancer Institute, 2018, www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics.

“La Llorona.” DonQuijote, 2019, www.donquijote.org/mexican-culture/history/la-llorona/.

“Prebiotics & Cancer Prevention | Cancer Treatment and Prebiotics.” Prebiotics & Cancer Prevention | Cancer Treatment and Prebiotics, 25 Oct. 2018, http://www.prebiotin.com/prebiotics-cancer-treatment/.

“Global Cancer Data by Country.” World Cancer Research Fund, 20 Mar. 2019, http://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/data-cancer-frequency-country.

Annotated Bibliography

Lechner, Breanne. Cancer: Survival, Quality of Life and Ethical Implications. Nova Biomedical, 2016.

This book discusses the quality of life for cancer patients. The author goes into detail on the disease and outcomes of someone who has it. It discusses in detail different methods of treatment such as chemotherapy radiation and how all of these are just as painful and harmful as the disease itself. I will use this book to provide data on the disease and also different point of ethical views on how harmful cancer can be.  This source is credible because the author is a medical professor and also the author of many cancer research books.

Elk, Ronit, and Hope Landrine. Cancer Disparities: Causes and Evidence-Based Solutions. Springer Pub. Co., 2012.

This medical research book discusses cancer disparities. It shares information on the different types of cancers and the harms that come with them all. It also shares how one type of cancer can lead to another. It shares how cancer can go and come back within a certain amount of years while using images and graphs to prove so. This source is useful becuase it contains data and images to support its findings and I can use those as evidence throughout my paper. This source is credible because the authors are doctors and researchers themselves.

Asma, Stephen T. On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears. Langara College, 2016.

In his book, Stephen Asma discusses how conceptual and cultural monsters have changed over time. He provides in detail how monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities. He gives the readers and image of how monsters can embody our society as well as out greatest fear. This source will be useful because I can state that cancer can be someone’s biggest fear, therefore, is a monster. This source is credible because this author is a professor at Oxford University who studies Philosophy and the human mind.

Paquette, Katryn, et al. “Cancer Risk in Children and Young Adults Born Preterm: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Plos One, vol. 14, no. 1, 2019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0210366

This journal article provides data and research on children who have cancer along with research on how preterm labor is a cause. It discusses the underlying effects it has on the children and also the pain they are in. From this source, I will specifically use data from their research which shows how cancer can appear at any age. It has no limit who it will harm and how it can harm them. This source is credible becuase the author is a cancer researcher who searches for causes and harms of cancer.

Cohen , Jeffrey. “Monster Culter(Seven Theses)” English with Mr. Tuttle, ,English with Tuttle scholar.google.com/citations?user=nrn1HokAAAAJ&hl=en.Jeffery Cohen defines what a mosnter is and how they are created. It provides seven different types of theses on what a monster is and how we create monsters ourselves. This source is useful because it provides one thesis which states how monsters come and go, they are never truely gone like cancer. This source is credible because Jeffrey Cohen is a director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute at George Washington University.