Cancer is a Community Disease – Episode 136

Cancer is a Community Disease

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Featuring: Rev. Percy McCray and Wayne Shepherd

Published: November 3, 2018

What does it mean to say that “cancer is a community disease?” In this episode, the hosts of Health, Hope & Inspiration discuss the implications of that phrase and ways cancer impacts more than just the person who has it. They also explore ways in which the church can think about cancer on a broader level and learn how to be focused and equipped to minister more effectively.

Show Notes:

According to the American Cancer Society, over 15.5 million people in the United States are living with cancer or have been personally diagnosed with cancer. In a congregation of 200 people, approximately eight members are living with cancer, and two more will potentially be diagnosed with the disease every year. Someone somewhere near you is being impacted by cancer. With incidence rates continuing to rise, how can the church community respond?

Pastor Percy challenges the church to take a serious look at how cancer impacts more than just the individual diagnosed, and to form a strategy to address and support the deep physical, spiritual, emotional needs of people in their community affected by this disease. He also discusses the benefits of beginning a one-on-one cancer ministry within the church, and training others in order to multiply its impact.


  • “We must reach out beyond the four walls of our local church and begin to understand that those individuals within our community are within our reach and our grasp, and we should also make this available to them and reach out to them.”
  • “It’s pretty clear there isn’t much wiggle room when we understand that we are our brother’s keeper, that God has called us to bear the burdens of one another. That’s part of the mandate of being a member of the Body of Christ and what our responsibility and accountability is to the members. When we talk about sickness and disease, we must do more than just send a casserole, not just occasionally drop by the hospital, but be actively engaged in support of those individuals and their families in our local church and within our community.”
  • “The local church has a great opportunity to meet the mandate of being there for the members of the church in a way that uniquely and authentically speaks to their needs specific to sickness and disease and particularly with cancer.”
  • “Caregivers, families and close friends of cancer patients may all begin to suffer at some point from fear, anxiety, uncertainty. Some may even get burned out caring for cancer patients. The church needs to be there for all of these people and to support them in a way that we may not have consciously thought about that before. We need to train ourselves to first be aware of what people are going through.”


CLICK HERE to download this week’s resource: “Cancer Care Ministry and Your Church