OWL Magazine Korea

“How to Live Happily with Cancer” by Jinichi Nakamura & Makoto Kondo

As society progresses, various technologies advance, and medicine also improves. Naturally, people can live much richer lives and stay healthier for longer compared to before.

However, ironically, there are now people suffering and dying from the disease called “cancer” discovered by modern medicine.

“How to Live Happily with Cancer?”

The title of the book itself is quite provocative. Indeed, books in this field require specialized medical knowledge, so it is advisable to critically assess whether the content the authors discuss is entirely accurate.

The authors argue in this book that “cancer” is not a disease but a type of aging.

They assert that until modern Western medicine developed, there weren’t many patients suffering and dying from cancer. However, in their bold discussion, two doctors, Jinichi Nakamura and Makoto Kondo, explore why many people suffer and die from cancer now compared to the past.

“Want to Die with Cancer?”

Ironically, Nakamura, one of the co-authors of the book, makes such a claim. It may seem ironic to wish to die painfully from a disease that people fear so much. However, hearing their stories about cancer might make one think that cancer is not as terrifying a disease as people make it out to be.

“Early Detection of Cancer is Impossible.”

According to them, normal cells and cancer cells are constantly fighting in our bodies, and once metastatic cancer, which poses a lethal threat to human life, is discovered, there is no way to treat it anymore.

Cancer that can be considered “early detection” is a tumor the size of “1cm,” which contains over a billion cancer cells. Thus, even though it is called early detection, it is meaningless detection. Moreover, if it’s real cancer, it’s already in a state where it has spread to several other organs at the early detection stage.

“Cancer is Like Natural Death, Like Aging.”

The authors argue that cancer is like natural death and aging. Furthermore, they claim that cancer itself hardly causes us suffering. Instead, anti-cancer treatments to cure cancer make our bodies suffer and cause pain.

Cancer is a natural part of life and death. In fact, before the precise definition of the disease “cancer” was established, people who died before cancer was diagnosed did not die from cancer. Instead, they were dealt with as natural deaths. Ultimately, they did not feel much pain and gradually died. (Afterward, when the bodies of those who died naturally were examined after the development of modern medicine, many cases of death from cancer were discovered.)

In conclusion, their argument is that cancer itself is naturally present in human life, similar to aging, and is part of the natural process of dying. Discovering cancer means preparing to die naturally.

“There is No Need for Health Examinations to Detect Cancer Early.”

Therefore, they say that there is no need for health examinations to detect cancer early. There is an experiment conducted on about 1,200 middle-aged men and women in Finland with similar conditions. Only 600 of them received health checkups, and after 15 years, the group that received health checkups showed higher mortality rates due to diseases, accidents, suicides, etc.

“How Should We Live?”

Ultimately, this book can be seen as discussing not only cancer but also how we should live our lives. It makes us think about what kind of mindset we should have each day to enjoy life.

It makes us ponder whether living with life-sustaining treatments like “percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)” just to prolong life a little longer is truly valuable.

“Criticism of Japanese University Hospitals”

Since the authors are based in Japan, the book also criticizes Japanese university hospitals. In Japan, going to university hospitals is not about receiving high-quality medical services but about becoming good subjects for experiments, they claim.

Given their mindset and their work in hospitals, one might wonder if their view on cancer has been influenced by their experiences.

“Death is Close By”

The book ultimately argues that death should be reflected upon in our daily lives. Modern society has made even death, a natural part of life, something we can’t see in our daily lives. All deaths are now happening in hospitals, and this process has removed “death” from everyday life.

Birth is the same. Birth now takes place in hospitals, and so does death.

Ultimately, although the book discusses cancer, it can be seen as a book discussing how we should live our lives. However, even as modern medicine continues to advance compared to the past, whether we should view cancer as Nakamura and Kondo do, as part of the “aging” process, remains uncertain.

As modern medicine increasingly views even the natural process of aging as a “disease” and continues research to address aging by supplying proteins to damaged DNA, perhaps aging, too, will someday be overcome.

As I am not a medical professional and lack specialized medical knowledge, and not a doctor, it is important to critically accept and approach the content of the book regarding heavy topics like “cancer” with caution.

“How to Live Happily with Cancer”

  • Authors: Jinichi Nakamura & Makoto Kondo
  • Publication Date: May 22, 2013
  • ISBN13: 9788974426408
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/ztwR6lM83