Kamis, 15 Desember 2011

Cancer Survival Is More Than a Number: Understanding Your Cancer Survival Rate

Chances are your doctor has given you some idea of what your survival rate will be with their recommended treatment, for your age, general health, and type and stage of cancer.

But what do those numbers mean?

Statistics are numbers. They provide comparisons that help us make decisions. In Cancer, they are used to help us determine the efficacy of treatments.

For most cancer patients, ANY benefit is reason enough to consider difficult treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

But cancer patients need to understand what these numbers really mean.

If a doctor tells you that the survival rate for stage and type of cancer is 50%, that DOESN'T mean that you have a 50% chance of surviving. It means, that for your stage and type of cancer, 50 out of 100 patients survive. What is the difference?

Statistics are just numbers, often spit out by a computer. What they don't take into consideration is:

Our particular body, and how it responds to treatment
The factors that may have caused our cancer
Changes in diet or lifestyle to improve health

The patients who don't survive often had multiple health issues that contributed to a weakened body before being diagnosed with cancer.

So, even if the prognosis for your cancer isn't good, let's say the mortality rate is 90%, that means that 10% of patients survive. That isn't really bad news for you - scary, yes - but what it means is that 10% of patients respond well to treatment, overcome their cancer, and go on to live healthy lives.

You are probably one of that 10%. How do I know this? Because you are already ON this page, doing research, actively willing to do whatever it takes to survive.

It is the survivors who actively fight cancer, not just with the treatments from their doctors, but by changing their lifestyle, getting the right nutrition, eating foods that fight cancer, by keeping their body strong, and breathing clean air that survive.

Even smokers diagnosed with Lung Cancer, who have smoked their entire lives, DOUBLE their chance of survival if they quit.

Breast Cancer survivors who walk 1 to 3 hours per week, improve their cancer survival rate by 20-50%.

Your doctor can't recalculate the statistics, they can only tell you what the general statistics for the entire cancer struggling population are.

But most importantly, don't lock yourself into a cancer rate statistic. Think of it as a starting point, that you continually move in your favor. You may not know the exact number, but every day you are alive means you are more likely on the surviving side of that statistic.

If you double your survival by quitting smoking, and add to that by working out, and improve your survival by eating a lot of antioxidants... you get the idea. Your survival rate improves. Unfortunately, there isn't a computer smart enough to calculate, for your specific body, what that change is.

But remember, it is just a number. You don't need to know what that number is. If you have a 40% chance of survival, or a 10% chance of survival - there are even many patients who have been told they have only a few months to live that survive - if this is you, live your life to put yourself on the SURVIVING side of the statistic.

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