When I was 21, I went to the doctor because there was a problem with my balls. Men do not go to the doctor; it’s not ingrained in us. But a man will go to the doctor if there’s an issue with his junk, because we’re very protective of that area.
I came back with a diagnosis of Stage Three Lymphoma. That means it started in one location, and was on the move. Stage Four means it’s everywhere. There is no Stage Five.
Science says we know more about cancer than we used to. We understand how cells metastasize, how to detect it earlier, how to fight it faster. This sounds reassuring, but as a slasher movie geek, I know that giving the killer a more elaborate backstory doesn’t change the motive. It kills because that’s what it was designed to do.
There’s no logical plan of attack. People with Stage Four go on to have healthy lives. People who catch it at Stage One will be inexplicably resistant to treatment, and dead in 90 days. You can’t predict it.