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Integrated into the story of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a case history of a depression patient from its subtle beginnings to its terrifying consequences to its shaky resolution On the subject of this depression there is an article written by William Styron which in the course of describing his own dealings with the disease he compares it to cancer It is my own firm opinion that this assertion is perfectly valid and it can be shown through careful analysis of the causes and effects of both depression and cancer that this is so In addition using The Bell Jar as an example of a case of depression we will see how this comparison makes clear sense First we must address the nature of cancer and its effect on the individual bearing its weight Cancer is the result of a mutation of the genetic material of a cell resulting in the lack of some inhibiting factor which would otherwise restrict the uncontrolled reproduction of this cell As a consequence this cell reproduces without bound generating a cluster of cells which are reproducing uncontrollably and which use the resources of the body to an extent beyond their proportional allotment Eventually the requirements of the tumor exceed the bodys ability to provide and the individual dies Treatment of cancer includes surgery the use of chemotherapy and the use of radiation therapy Surgeons removing a tumor make every attempt to remove as much of the affected tissue as possible because the presence of even a single properly placed cell left after surgery could result in a second bout with the cancer Chemotherapy entails exposing the cancer to a barrage of chemicals which are toxic in the hope of poisoning it to death Unfortunately these chemicals which are toxic to the tumor are also toxic to the patient Chemotherapy results in a plethora of serious negative side effects for the patient even for all of its
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