Tag: Cancer

Pushing Back on the Medical Establishment Is Not so Easy

 

I should have known that a big decision about changing my chemotherapy regimen, rejecting my oncologist’s recommendation, wasn’t going to be so easy. I wrote about it here, describing a discussion I will be having with him on Monday. But now I realize that there is more involved than just looking at the statistics and research. It means, from a big picture standpoint, that I will be bucking the “science,” telling the experts that when it comes to making decisions about my life, all the numbers in the world can’t determine what is best for me.

Only I can do that. And I am very anxious about telling him my decision to defy his recommendation. I’m even nervous about discussing my situation with my internist on Friday prior to that meeting. Am I just wanting the treatment to be finished? (Yes.) Am I tired of being tired? (Yes.) Do I want life to return to normal? (Yes.) And in spite of all those desires, I believe I know what the best course is for me.

Not a Survivor but a Thriver

 

When the surgeon first confirmed I had cancer, he told me that it wouldn’t shorten my life; actually, he tried to reassure me with that comment on two or three other occasions. I was surprised that he said that, but in spite of all the advances in breast cancer treatment, I guess the first thing a woman might think is, “Am I going to die”? My reaction was, “This is so darned inconvenient.” Maybe that was a thought of denial on my part, but I still feel the same way.

It is inconvenient.

But I mainly wanted to address a phrase that is commonly used to discuss the condition of a person who comes through cancer: Cancer Survivor. Please know that if you know anyone who describes herself that way, I mean no disrespect. We can all choose to see and describe ourselves in multiple ways, but that’s not a term I would use.

Member Post

 

A group of oncologists estimate that 60,000 people in the UK will die of cancer because they were unable to get adequate treatment due to COVID-19 restrictions. I am torn about what to think about this estimate. Why should one trust the prognostications of a group of oncologists any more than one trusts the prognostications […]

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

 

Clever title, isn’t it? Of course, I’m not a doctor nor a medicine woman, and over the last few weeks I’ve learned how inept I am at diagnosing just about anything.

Some of you might have read my post about going to the emergency room on April 12. It was a very unpleasant experience. And generated unacknowledged fear on my part, given the further tests I would need to endure. So this is what the last couple of weeks have revealed.

Round #1

Member Post

 

The ‘staches are back! Movember is a charity raising money for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and the high incidence of mental health issues and suicide among men. I recently joined my company’s team in the cause and it got me thinking a bit about how we talk about men’s health. The news media, the chattering […]

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Justice Ginsburg Completes Radiation Therapy for Malignant Tumor

 

The Supreme Court announced today that Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg, 86, has completed a three week course of radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. The tumor was detected during a blood test in early July and confirmed through a biopsy on July 31. In addition to the radiation therapy, Ginsburg also had a bile duct stent installed. According to the Office of Public Information at the Supreme Court, the tumor was “definitively treated” and there is no sign of disease elsewhere in her body.

Ginsburg has had cancer numerous times. Most recently, just last December she had a lobectomy on the left side of her lungs to remove cancerous nodules, also performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. That procedure caused her to miss oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the first time she’d been absent since joining the court.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the lineup of the two Democratic debates. They also evaluate Joe Biden’s vow that cancer will be cured if he’s elected president and Joy Behar of ‘The View’ suggesting climate change makes a cure much tougher. And they break down the political battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rev. Al Sharpton over a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes in the Big Apple.

Member Post

 

I saw my Oncologist yesterday.  My polyp was Stage I.A., the most benign level.  The cancer had not spread to the Large Intestine, which would have been Stage II, or the lymph nodes which would have been Stage III.  With the surgery, I am literally cancer-free.   My Oncologist had been ready to release me, […]

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Member Post

 

I had a colonoscopy a week ago.  I had four polyps, three which were 5 mm which were removed, and one which was 15 mm which was biopsied.  On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got the results from the biopsy.  There were cancer cells in the tissue sample which was biopsied.  I already knew that […]

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Catching Formerly Fatal Cancers in Time, Curing the Incurable, All on a Budget?

 

We live in an amazing time. Despite all the disputes and anxiety about the health care delivery system, research still brings new miraculous cures. So, can we get the goose to keep laying golden eggs at something more like chicken feed, rather than kale, prices?

Recent news points towards early detection of cancers which usually are not detected until it is too late, and techniques to get a patient’s body to effectively recognize, attack and destroy cancer.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome Arizona Sen. John McCain back to Capitol Hill despite the grim diagnosis he received last week, and are happy that Republicans now have a full roster as the health care debate continues. They also bemoan President Trump’s continued use of Twitter to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions for being “weak” in failing to investigate Hillary Clinton over her emails and alleged collusion with Ukraine during the 2016 campaign. And they analyze a surprising new Michigan poll showing rock star Kid Rock leading incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America start with an appetizer by cheering the U.S. Navy’s use of a new laser weapon meant to target small watercraft and drones. They also praise the Trump administration for its success in halting hundreds of regulations that would stifle job growth and business expansion. They also address the tragic news that Arizona Sen. John McCain is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and they express disgust at the tasteless and nasty reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. And they sigh over President Trump griping to the media about his frustrations over Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Member Post

 

Back in October, I wrote a post about a weekend with guys who are battling cancer and the amazing courage of these men who are staring death in the face.   In the middle of all the inauguration hoopla, it’s easy to forget the individual struggles of our fellow Americans.  One family is tonight facing the […]

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In Lieu of Flowers, Please Stop Smoking

 

I learned something interesting earlier this month. If you want to donate your body to medical research, there’s usually a minimum weight requirement. If you’re an adult, you need to weigh at least a hundred pounds. If you’re too emaciated, for example, from a long illness, they won’t take you.

I discovered this because I spent the latter half of January helping to take care of a terminal cancer patient. One day she could walk down the stairs. The next day she needed help. The day after that, she lost all feeling below the waist.

At that point, there’s no point in doing scans to figure out what’s wrong. Everyone involved understood that the end was fast approaching. The cancer had either spread to her spine or her brain. Either way, it wouldn’t be long, so a call was made to hospice.

What Government Can’t Do

 

shutterstock_116979886Let’s call this the most unsurprising headline of the year so far “Marriage Increases The Odds Of Surviving Cancer, Studies Find.” Next thing you know they’ll be discovering that salt makes you thirsty. I’m not actually belittling the science, more the opposite. Even the most cursory glance at social science data accumulated over the past, oh, 150 years, provides copious evidence that we humans do better pair-bonded for life. And if data doesn’t convince you, there’s also literature, anecdote, tradition, and intuition. But let’s stick with science for now.

Two studies published in the Journal Cancer found that among 800,000 adults diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2009, those who were married survived the disease at higher rates than single people — much higher rates. Especially men. The death rate among unmarried women was 19 percent higher than for married women, and for unmarried men the rate was 27 percent higher. The researchers controlled for factors like income, health insurance status, race, and other factors but still found that marriage was a key variable. Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute, one of the authors, told the Washington Post that money does not explain her results, but that “social support” is a “key factor.”

It’s interesting about the men, isn’t it? Marriage confers many benefits on women (though the early feminists were venomously anti-marriage), but study after study has found that when it comes to health and longevity, men benefit even more than women from tying the knot (and keeping it tied).

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Doom Forecast …

 

Pancreatic-cancer-cells… for some extraordinarily good news. This was last thing I expected to see when I looked at the news this morning. A complete surprise. Pancreatic cancer ‘breakthrough’ hailed.

I haven’t carefully looked at the paper on which the reporting is based, and we all know most science reporting is lousy. But I know enough to know why this could be an important finding. The less-sensational headline is here: New Road Map Of Pancreatic Cancer May Help Us Find Better Treatments, Raise Survival Rates:

An expansive multinational team of researchers claim to have created the most accurate road map of pancreatic cancer to date — one that might enable scientists the ability to someday better combat an illness that’s often terminal.