Oncology: Why I Write About Cancer

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 4 Comments

If someone told me ten years ago that I was going to be an oncology writer, I would have thought you were crazy. I wanted to be a doctor – and not just any doctor. I was ambitious, I knew I was smart, and I wanted to cure diseases as a clinician. I didn’t care at all about cancer.

Oncology: Why I Hated It

I was not too fond of oncology and cancer. I thought to myself, cancer patients usually died. I wanted to feel that I was helping patients live and get well; if I so much as touched oncology, most of my patients would probably die on me eventually!

Cancer was hard to relate to, especially if you didn’t have it.

Yes, it was a cold way of thinking about cancer. But you see, I was young and naïve, someone who just wanted to reach for the stars. Talking about cancer would have bored me to death back then.

But God had other plans for me. Oncology was the one thing He had in mind for me, I realized very reluctantly at first.

Cancer and Oncology: I Couldn’t Relate

Besides, cancer was hard to relate to, especially if you didn’t have it. Why on earth would I fight a battle that wasn’t mine? In all honesty, before you finish reading this post, think about it: how many times have you ever pictured yourself as someone who will actually get cancer?

Cynthia Nixon Has Cancer

You might think the odds are greater that you’ll get diabetes or hypertension rather than cancer, yes? Maybe so. But cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in the world – feel free to read about how cancer is more common than you think. Yes, chances are, cancer will get the better of you and I. Or it will get the better of someone else close to you.

Don’t worry, it’s not a sin that you don’t find cancer relatable. I never did before. It’s man’s nature to deny disease, especially if it can mean his death.

Oncology: How I Started Writing About It

I was a fresh graduate from medical school when fate started interfering with my rather selfish plans. Just like most of my highly-competitive peers, I was stubborn and I knew what I wanted in life. I wanted to practice medicine, specialize, and feel good about helping others while I got rich in the process!

Oh, boy, was I going to be very disappointed. Read on and find out how weird circumstances led me to write about oncology.

I’ve always been an amateur writer since I was little. I’ve won awards for my work, but it didn’t dawn on me back then that writing about cancer would be what I’d be doing in the future.

I was initially not too fond of oncology and cancer. I thought to myself, cancer patients usually died!

But fate shot down every opportunity that was not related to writing. The chances of that happening were close to nil; you see, I graduated with honors, I had an impressive resume, and I was a shoe-in for a position in the hospital. But one weird coincidence after another ruined my chances of getting what I wanted.

I was trying very hard, exhausting all my resources, to reach what I was aiming for. It was all very surreal; I felt like the entire world was conspiring so that I could never practice medicine the way I wanted to! Fate interfered and closed all doors of opportunity… except for one.

When I started writing about oncology, I did so reluctantly. It wasn’t what I imagined as my bread and butter. Fate opened THIS door wide open, as if it wanted me to enter without hesitation.

When I write about oncology and cancer, I feel like I am doing what I’m supposed to do. And every time I attend a cancer event, another writing opportunity presents itself on a silver platter. Getting writing stints in other topics was tough, but getting jobs as a cancer article writer was like eating ice cream: sweet, easy, and something that made me giddy.

Oncology: Why It Chose Me

I never planned to write about oncology and cancer. I never dreamed to become a writer in the first place. I might not have chosen oncology, but oncology chose me. I was a reluctant inductee, but it was a calling too strong for me to resist.

Have you ever felt like coincidences are God’s way of intervening without interrupting? That was how I felt whenever oncology called upon me. It always said, “Stef, come on, write about me!”

Fate has chosen me to write about oncology and to spread the word about cancer. It has chosen me, an unworthy candidate, to wield my pen and to get people to pay attention. Fate made everything happen, making me succeed with surprising ease as a writer of cancer articles!

It's as if fate wanted me to write about cancer. Who was I to say no?

Help me spread the word about cancer and oncology. Follow me, Stef dela Cruz on Facebook, and share oncology news, cancer updates, and other health articles with the people you care about. Awareness saves lives. You can do that, too.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!


  1. You don't have to have one in order to write for it. The same thing with me, but cancer is a strong carrier in our bloodline yet I can only write something to its effect and their effect to the immediate family and friends. My mom died of breast cancer when I was still 6 years old.

  2. That's right, Sir Rob. Unfortunately, it's hard to get people to listen about cancer unless they or their loved ones have it. The antipathy is dumbfounding.

    For instance, I posted a picture about cancer and a picture of pizza on my Facebook wall. Guess which picture got more likes? :)

  3. My grandmother died of breast cancer. We just knew it when I brought them to a reflexologist. She was so secretive about it until I was told by the lady who attended her that we have to bring her to a doctor for a check up. I informed my mom about it and in our surprise cancer already eaten half of her nipple. It saddened me so much. Now that she passed away, I am more conscious of my health. Your article is an eye opener, not only to women but men as well to be more concerned with their health. :D

  4. Thanks, Mavic, for your story. The more people share their stories, the more people listen. The more they relate to cancer. The more they realize that cancer is so common that it's the third most common cause of death.

    Your lola passed away knowing that you were all there for her. I know that's not enough consolation, but I do hope her memory helps you become a more health-conscious person. :) Thank you for sharing your dear grandma's story.