The worth of.. [Part 3 – Dying]
What is life worth when you are homeless or a refugee? What is life worth when you must go to a food bank every week or when you have bulimia or anorexia nervosa? What is life worth when you stare death in the face? Or the other way around, what is life worth when it is over but you have to keep going for only a little while?
In the series “the worth of.” I will go on a search.
Part 3. The worth of life: dying
It is not easy to find someone who is the end of life. Once you know, it is a difficult question: may I interview you about dying? Yet suddenly I was next to him. Name unknown, 67 years old, both in the Fundation Museum (Museum de Fundatie) in Zwolle. Going for a quick look at the (beautiful) exhibition by Jasper Krabbé. On a bench in front of the paintings. Initially superficial, but quickly into the depths. No time to lose. Asbestos cancer, with metastases to the heart. He loved art, his brother artist and art on the wall. Life in a vacuum. Balanced by clarity and hope. Not believing in a higher purpose, but the conviction that you will live on in other people, in me. The most precious? Love. Together moved to tears. Not knowing what to do with the only grip you have. Seize the day: whatever that might mean.
With the ageing of the Dutch population there is an increase of the number of new cancer patients. This increase is visible in both men and women. The risk of getting cancer in the future will increase slightly. The number of people that die of cancer shall also increase. Nevertheless, the risk of dying of cancer will decrease slightly for both men and women. The increase of cancer diagnoses and the slight decline of deaths as a result of cancer will cause an increase of the number of patients, especially in the older age groups.
The Dutch population is not just growing but is also getting older. Recently, the increase of the number of elderly people has accelerated: the first baby boomers of the post-war birth generation are reaching the age of 65. Around 2040 the ageing will be at its peak. The size and mostly the age composition of the population are of the greatest importance in making a prognosis of the cancer incidence and death rate. Due to the ageing of the population it can be expected that there will be a clear increase of cancer patients in the near future.