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Radiohead
August 27th, 2007, 12:11 AM
I just found out that my cousin has stage 4 cancer in her liver and the prognosis is poor...3-4 months max. I had a co-worker die in the past year of cancer. I know of 4 others with terminal cancer. Is it just me, or is this disease as bad as it ever was?

I support and participate in the Relay for Life every year, as well as other fund raisers, but sometimes I wonder for what? Advances have been made in early to mid stage cancer, but I want a magic laser beam that will get rid of the cancer...zap, it's gone, now go on with your life. Unfortunately, it's still not that easy, especially in advanced stages. Do we need a new "war on cancer", and have we ever had one? And why are prevention/detection not a priority? Shouldn't more employers be offering free cancer screening? Many don't get screened because cancer is the last thing they think could strike them; it's something that only afflicts other people. "I'd rather spend that money on something I can really use" is the thought. If my cousin would have been screened for cancer a year ago, she may have been able to fight it.

We can send a man to the moon, we can carry on a conversation with someone in Denmark while sitting on a toilet in the Bronx, we can download a video through the air...no wires, no cords. We can build an underground subway network A CENTURY AGO, yet so many are still dying of cancer today.

I'm just frustrated. I don't want to lose another loved one to this insidious cancer.

I urge everyone reading this to get checked for cancer, even if there are no warning signs. Cancer did not run in my cousin's family.

Ninjahedge
August 27th, 2007, 10:40 AM
I was misdiagnosed way back in 95, went through quite a lot of emotional crap back then, when every prognosis came back as a definite "Maybe you are fubared".

Cancer is not getting more prevalent, we just know it is there now. Used to be, people died of "pneumonia" and the like rather than being diagnosed for what they actually had. If they WERE cut open afterwards, only sometimes was the cause of death altered (corrected) on the public record.

So it is not a great thing that we know what people are dying of more now than before, but it helps us diagnose and save more than we were able to later.

Sorry to hear about the prognosis, but just stay positive around them. No BS like "you will make it out of this just fine!". They won't believe you. But more of a fighting stance. That you guys are there to support, but that they need to be strong and fight this,. That positive attitude and determination DOES help. Let the doctors do their jobs, but at the same time tell them that THEY have to fight too.

Get through all the initial psycological stages, get to acceptance, and then fight it.

Best wishes... :(

Meerkat
August 27th, 2007, 05:39 PM
Sorry to hear about your cousin - very bad news.

My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago, and following a mastectomy and a course of radiotherapy is now clear of the disease, although she has to go for regular check ups. It was a very tough time, and we all went through hell.

Its true that early detection is the major factor in surviving the disease, but often doctors mis-diagnose (as happened with Ninjahedge). I was discussing this with a colleague yesterday - a friend of hers had a lump in his neck and was given a course of anti-biotics by his doctor and sent home. It later turned out to be a tumour. Plus often there are no early symptoms so by the time a person becomes unwell the disease is already advanced. The good news is survival rates for some types of cancer are increasing, and breast screening for women over 50 in the UK are reducing the mortality rates:
http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/survival/latestrates/

Personally i often check for lumps / bumps (but then i am a nurse), but many people don't. Public awareness should be a priority, and as you say, regular screening should be provided by health services, such as happens here with breast cancer. Prostate cancer is a big killer, but there is no screening for that as yet.

Ninjahedge gives very good advice, which i couldn't add anything to - try and stay positive though, trite as that may sound.