No, not a damn bell!



At my recent oncology appointment, I was sitting quietly in the waiting room minding my own business while scrolling through my Twitter feed on my phone when out of the blue, I heard an annoying sound and immediately thought, what the heck was that?

At first, I thought it was a fire drill, or an elevator gone haywire noise, or a kid’s toy. I glanced around the room, and lo and behold, I saw it. Right up there by the registration desk — front and center — there it was hanging on the wall. Ugh…

Do we need to ring bells in cancer centers? #chemo #radiation #cancersucks

My immediate reaction was no, not a damn bell!

I’ve been going to my cancer center for a dozen years now. One thing I have appreciated is that it’s remained a no bell-ringing sort of cancer center. I might’ve even had a few moments of feeling almost smug about this — thinking my cancer center knows better. The folks who run my cancer center have taken the high road.

Dumb, I know. And now, it turns out, I was wrong anyway.

I won’t bother to rehash what I’ve already written about this bell-ringing phenomenon that seems to be overtaking cancer centers, but let me just say, when I heard that bell being rung, I was disappointed.

And no, a bell is not the most pressing issue any Cancer Haver contends with. Still, it is interesting, to me anyway, how this bell-ringing phenomenon keeps spreading. It’s likely related to the Positivity Police Brigade mindset. I see it as an overreach, but more importantly, as a lack of empathy for folks with metastatic disease who’ll never be ringing a darn bell.

Of course, I fully realize many, even some with metastatic disease, disagree. Which is fine. In fact, if that’s you, I’d love to hear from you.

At least the bell wasn’t mounted on the wall of the chemo room or on one in the radiation area, but nonetheless, it was positioned in a room where Cancer Havers of all types and stages would potentially be hearing the dang bell whenever it gets rung.

Forget the whole bell-ringing debate for a minute. Putting all that aside, when I heard the bell being rung, my first reaction was annoyance. I doubt I was the only one.

Why was I annoyed?

Because it was a disruptive clang — not a pleasant-sounding clang.

It took a few seconds for the sound to even register and for me to realize what it was. I mean, if we’re going to have a bell to ring, is it too much to ask that the bell have a nice ring sound to it?

Going to a cancer center is never pleasant. But when my appointment was over, I was more eager than ever to escape through those front doors.

I did stop to take a photo before making my exit because I figured I might want to write about this at some point. I’m sure if anyone saw me take it they were thinking, boy that woman must really like that new bell since she’s taking a photo of it.

If they only knew, right?

Again, I realize in the scheme of things, having a bell for folks who’ve wrapped up chemo or radiation isn’t that big a deal.

What’s the harm?

It’s just a bell.

Therein also lies the answer.

In a cancer center, if something potentially harms even a few, why have it?

And if it’s just a bell, do we really need one?

To me, the answers to both are obvious.

What do you think? (All viewpoints welcome.)

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No, Not a Damn Bell! Do we really need this in a #cancercenter? #cancer #chemotherapy #radiation #cancersucks

You might want to read, Is Ringing a Bell Really Necessary When Ending Cancer Treatment?

How do you feel about bell ringing (by adults) in cancer centers?

Does your cancer center have a bell for cancer patients to ring?

Take part in my poll below!

Do you approve of bell ringing in cancer centers?
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