Cancer is probably one of the toughest ordeals a person could ever face. Knowing what your prognosis is can be difficult for you, for your relatives, and for your doctor.
Prognosis is knowing how the disease is taking over your body, what are the expectations in the coming days, months and years, and how far along will the disease go for. Discussing this topic can be both depressing and difficult for most people.
What Affects My Prognosis?
There are many factors that affect a person’s prognosis. Here are some of them: the type of cancer you have, the location of the cancer in your body, how big is the cancer, is the cancer spreading, how abnormal are the cancer cells, traits of the cancer, your health and age before the diagnosis, how you can face the treatment.
How Do I Get My Prognosis?
As soon as you know you have cancer, you can immediately ask your doctor about it. However, this also depends on the kind of cancer you have. Some will require further testing and further exams. It’s difficult to assume what will happen. However, you and your family will definitely face decisions like: are you getting treatment? Who’s going to take care of you? Or, How do you deal with the legal and financial matters?
For most people, they prefer to get their prognosis as it helps them to cope. You can ask your doctor about the survival rate of the kind of cancer you have. If you prefer not to know the statistics, you don’t have to ask your doctor about it.
How Do I Understand The Statistics?
There are three commonly used statistics. They are “cancer-specific survival”, “relative survival”, “disease free survival”, and “overall survival”. The first talks about the percentage of patients with a specific type of cancer. Their basis is the number of people who have died from the same kind of cancer during a certain duration of time after they are diagnosed.
Depending on the statistics, it may be 2, 3 or 5 years after diagnosis. Relative survival on the other hand is the percentage of the patients who were able to survive for a period of time after their diagnosis. This statistic does not use the information on how the patient died.
Disease free survival is the percentage of cancer patients that have no signs of cancer (or recurrent cancer) for a certain period of time after the treatment is done. The last one, which is overall survival, in the percentage of the cancer patients who haven’t died from a particular cause after they got their diagnosis.
These statistics are based from a large group of people and may not predict what can happen to you. Every person is different. Treatments for one may not work for the other as body responses can go differently. You can expect that if you have the kind of cancer with a high survival rate, the doctor will give you a good prognosis. If the cancer is difficult to control, you are most likely to receive a bad prognosis.
I’m Not Sure If I Want Treatment
There are many cancer survivors who have treated themselves naturally by making a 360 degree turn on their lifestyle. However, this may not be the right solution to another patient. If you want to fight the cancer, getting treatment is the only option. However, if you opt not to, that is a decision only you can take.
What’s The Difference Between Remission and Cure?
Remission means the signs and symptoms of your cancer has already lessened. It may be complete or partial, depending on the kind of treatment you had and the kind of body responsiveness you did. Remission only means that the signs and symptoms are gone, but the cancer might still be there.
Cure, on the other hand means the treatment had worked and the cancer has been totally eliminated. This means the cancer will never come back.
Some cancers are curable, some are not. However, there are many factors and considerations you need to take in order to make a decision on what path to choose. Cancer isn’t easy, but there are ways to beat it.