Monday, October 26, 2009

The Forty Year War

I've been reading again. Sorry. I do it regularly. Someone referenced an article in the New York Times recently and I never found it but I found another that made me think (something else I shouldn't do regularly according to my husband). This is part of a series in the New York Times on the Forty Year War against cancer. Now stop right there. Forty year war? Can they put a number on it because the end is in sight? And war? Its not a war, its a continual search for a cure.

In reading this article I had a few thoughts:

- First of all, I disagree with the statement that cancer people talk about how they found the tumor/growth/mass. We talk about all sorts of things like what drugs we are on, recurrences, treatment options, opinions on doctors and other medical personnel, the weather, politics, sports, children, parents, friends, work, school, etc. We can talk about cancer to people who really understand but we also talk about life. We try to give ourselves a break from cancer every second. The all cancer all the time channel really sucks and is stressful so real life is a nice alternative.

- You will notice that several medical personnel who thought they knew it all realized when they were diagnosed themselves the true significance of a cancer diagnosis. You don't get it until its you with cancer. There is a fine line between having cancer and helping with cancer. I interact with a lot of people who are very caring and are doing their best either as caregivers, volunteers for cancer groups, or are medical personnel. They are helping and should be appreciated. But once you cross into cancerland its another world that you can't understand until its you.

- With cancer people, there is a line to be drawn - when do you stop treatments? I mean how many times do you go through the 'there is one more thing we can try'? By the way, the only one to decide this is the person with cancer. On one hand, its your life we are talking about but then there are things like quality of life to consider. Can your body cope with more treatments in a humane manner? Strong cancer treatments can be worse than the cure. Look at chemotherapy, it makes you really sick to make you better. On the other hand, when do you decide enough is enough?

- Finally, go back and read the last sentences again. How can they put the number forty on it if they aren't even close?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The cancer blog that is excellent may be found at
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/jennings/