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imgr8's avatar

Would you rather have a cold forever, or cancer?

Asked by imgr8 (434points) August 29th, 2012

Would you rather Have a head cold for your whole life and never get better, or get a type of Cancer that has a fairly high survival rate but no guarantees?

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8 Answers

Shippy's avatar


LuckyGuy's avatar

At first, I thought this was a dumb question. But as I went about my day, I started to think about it a little more and decided maybe it wasn’t so dumb after all.
I’ve had the pleasure of having both of these little “gifts” so I figure I can give one man’s opinion.
Let’s make an objective comparison for my case. (Your mileage may vary)
Cold – not so bad, won’t kill you, but it makes you miserable. I can’t breathe through my nose, food tastes terrible, I can’t sleep well, I’m tired during the day, I can’t enjoy kissing , and I can easily spread this to others I know. Life would be depressing.
Cancer (prostate) – Thanks to the PSA test it is diagnosed early. So early I didn’t even know I had it. All parts work, I can exercise, sleep, enjoy the beautiful day, all systems feel normal. The treatment and recovery was awful for a short time but after that, for the most part, I feel like I did before. Great. On the down side, statistically speaking, there is an 8% chance that I might have a recurrence in 15 years.. That number gets lower the longer I go without having one. I don’t worry about it at all. If it happens, I’ll get it fixed. I’m a Lucky Guy.
I’ll take cancer. (YMMV)

An interesting spin on this would be a third choice: cold, cancer, or 100 pounds overweight that can’t be lost.)
I’ll still take cancer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yeah, it does grow on you after a bit. I need to chew on it for a while. GQ

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe See what I mean? That “dumb question” gets more interesting as your head mulls it around.
The answer varies with the type of cancer, side effects, survival odds, etc. Heck, it even varies with religious beliefs. For example, I do not believe in an afterlife. The days I see here are the only ones I will ever get. Like gasoline in my fuel tank, once gone, it’s gone. There are no mulligans That makes me want to get the most out of every day and make each one count.

If someone had offered me a choice of no cancer and the required surgery, or having a 100 pound weight strapped around my waist for the rest of my life. I would pick my cancer in a heartbeat.
And yet, I see so many people who choose the latter.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy The 100 pound weight was the most scary to me, the cold second. I love being active. That one would kill me. I remember I climbed the length of the bobsled track at Mt Van Hovenburg and I came up over the top just as the tram got there. There was this very heavy person on it. The person’s mouth fell open at seeing me. That’s stuck in my mind ever since. No, that 100 pounds would be as bad as the cold.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Same here. My BMI is dead nuts right in the center of the band. I see overweight guys my age and they are wrecks. I look and feel 20 years younger. IMO ;-) Being in shape is worth so much. Life is great. I am willing or can do anything – except parkour
I don’t understand why someone would trade shoving an extra donut in their mouth for the inability to run, or climb stairs, or be exhausted by walking and talking. Have they given up sex, too? Life is too short and too precious to waste.

gailcalled's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : I love your description of the bobsled track. We had the same experience when we hiked to the top of Whiteface from the lake end. Nothing like trotting over the last ¼ of rocky outcroppings and seeing the tourists in their high heels.

I too am a cancer survivor and can’t enter into the spirit of this question; a decades-long cold is a fantasy and as such, is not valid. What about other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, MS, lupus?

My cancer treatments were onerous but discrete. Two surgeries… some chemo and radiation and tamoxifin for five years. In between treatments, I did pretty well.

Sunny2's avatar

I’d rather have cancer like I had: not unexpected breast cancer discovered early and requiring only a lumpectomy and radiation. No biggie. On the other hand, I’d rather have the constant cold rather than inoperable brain cancer or pancreatic cancer.

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