I Like You Because You Have Cancer
I was asked to read and review the book/teen phenomenon, The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. Its a mix of medical, drama, and relationship that would give Nicholas Spark a run for his money. Its now a worldwide major motion picture. How fast is it selling. The day I went to see it, they had sold out for many showings ahead. Basically you have to get your ticket weeks in advance. Its obviously incredibly popular. What’s the worst that can happen?
There is a huge concern among the mental health community due to this book. In this story, cancer is perceived as something that creates a bond and lasting friendship in relationships. It also makes you the partner of someone who is in almost need, and the center of attention as the most caring person in the world. A concern that has been brought up is if a story like this could bring a sense of popularity to kids with cancer, and an inappropriate desire to be with them, particularly in teens who attend high school.
I was sharing this idea with some of my colleagues in the medical field, and they were first thinking it was some kind of joke. After a couple of hours, they came back to me with serious concerns considering the popularity of this book/movie, and the psych behind it when it comes to such a serious disease.
People in high school will do anything to be popular, or get attention. How cruel would it be to date someone who is undergoing the toughest time of their lives, just so you can lead other people to believe that you have a similar story to the one in the book? For the longest time, teens with cancer where ones that people rejected, feared, and or avoided while they walk the hallways. They saw them with pity, and fear of the unknown. Yet its slowly turning into a gateway towards social media popularity.
What do you think? Should the mental health community be aware and ready to create ways to help cancer patients n their teens cope with this phenomenom? Let us know on the comment section below, or at Think@TheDoctorsCouch.Org