The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Colon Cancer

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 788 times Debate No: 53444
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I just had a colonoscopy and two polyps were found. One was cancerous, but the doctor said he was sure he got all of it and after the biopsy the cancer had not reached the stem and most likely did not penetrate the bowel. He still recommends a cat scan. Should I go for the cat scan or is he just covering his rear with an expensive second opinion?


I'm sorry that my opponent has got a cancer diagnosis, but luckily the chances of full recovery are excellent (95%) (1).

He should definitely get the cat scan because a/ the cancer might have spread to other areas and if it has, the sooner he gets treatment the better his chances of full recovery and b/ because his doctor recommends it and he deals with cancer every day, so his experience counts for something.

I understand that the cat scan might be expensive, but I think the money is worth it. Even though there'll probably be no result, that will be a great relief to Pro's family. And in the unlikely event they do find something, it will mean quick treatment and maybe save Pro's life.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your concern. It was very scary waiting a week for the results of the biopsy. l'm no wimp and I thought I was prepared, but when the doctor told me the results my body tensed up and I became light headed and almost fainted. After the cat scan I guess I will have to wait another whole week to get those results. It felt good having an outlet to talk about this as I have not told any one eles about it yet. Why do I fell almost embarrassed to tell anyone?


Cancer as a stereotype

People react weirdly to the word "cancer". Susan Sontag wrote an essay about it called Illness as Metaphor. (1) I find this to be true in myself as well. When I read your first round, I got totally stressed out, even though it has nothing to do with me.

Sontag argues that there's a stereotype of cancer in our society. I suppose you can see it in the way we use "cancer" as a metaphor in unrelated situations. For instance,

Cancer: An evil or destructive practice or phenomenon that is hard to contain or eradicate:racism is a cancer sweeping across Europe (2)

In other words, we grant to the disease a sort of evil character and power that it doesn't actually have.

I can understand why you would hesitate to tell people and start those sorts of reactions and associations.

Suppose you got infected with botulism or smallpox or got meningitis. Those diseases have a similar or worse prognosis than bowel cancer. Would you feel the same hesitation in letting people know? I think if you had started this debate with one of those diseases instead, I would personally have reacted a bit differently.

Health and privacy

Do you need to tell anyone? Suppose you had haemorroids, for example. It's a private matter and so is this. Of course, it depends on the sorts of relatioships you have with people and how it might affect them. But I'm not sure if the situation obliges you to share, although of course you may choose to.


I just happened to read a paper about this last week. This is not the paper, but it describes the idea of liminality in the abstract. (3)

The paper I read was about how people may get a symptom (particularly a cancer-related symptom) and don't go and get treatment for a while, even though they know they should and that it might be serious. This stage is not denial because the person is fully aware of what's going on. It's just a stage in between, a hesitation.

It's kind of irrational, but I have an immediate emotional sympathy with it because I guess for a moment you still have control over it and over your own privacy. And when people know, everything will change.

Debate Round No. 2


Yes its a scary word, but statistically, we do have much to be worried about.
I did ask my doctor on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worse case scenairo) where he thought I fit and he said a 3. I will take that as positive. Cat Scan Wednesday morning. What ever the outcome I am going to preach early checkups to everyone.


I think he wouldn't say 1 because then you wouldn't take his advice seriously, so 3 is pretty good. That's not to say that it's not terrifying, because of course it is.

Best wishes for the next few days and thanks for the debate. :)
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by rross 2 years ago
And here's the first link... :/
Posted by rross 2 years ago
Sorry, that last link didn't work. Here it is again.
Posted by rross 2 years ago
@molestrap - was I supposed to argue that you SHOULDN'T get the scan? I'm confused now.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Dennybug 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to defend his side, Con provided actual arguments for why getting the cat scan will be a safer, smarter thing to do.