Never Give Up. Remember Mark Twain’s Words, “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying. -Bear Grylls
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron – Isaiah 45:2
Cancer Statistics Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
(This is post 4 of my cancer journey)
If you are on the journey of cancer yourself, or you love someone who is on the journey you are bound to catch yourself looking at “survival prognosis statistics,” and they will scare you to death.
In 1974 my mother was told that the survival prognosis for her breast cancer was 5 years post diagnosis. She lived 4 years and 11 months. Today they still define the life prognosis of cancer patients in terms of 5 year survival rates. Nothing has changed in that area.
When they say, “You have a 90% five-year-survival rate,” it appears to mean that 90% of the people with your type of cancer only live 5 years.” That is not what it means.
It appears to say 90% of the people diagnosed with that type of cancer this year will need to have their estate in order within 5 years from the date they were diagnosed.
It appears to say that more people are making it to 5 years, but we still can’t seem to get past 5 years for most of them.
If that was what it meant, it would mean that despite 32 years of research, cancer treatment is not helping patients actually live any longer post diagnosis than it did 32 years ago.
If that was what it meant, I wouldn’t bother with cancer treatment at all. If I only have 5 years, I’m not wasting 3 of them in a doctor’s waiting room.
Fortunately that isn’t what it means. The phrasing of the statistic is misleading, and the news is better than that!
The Five Year Survival Rates means 90% live “at least” 5 years post diagnosis. It does not mean “only” five years. Repeat after me, “at least, not only”.
Even better news
The 10-year survival rate for all people diagnosed with breast cancer is only 6% lower than the 5 year survival rate for all people diagnosed with breast cancer.
Or in other words approximately 84% of all breast cancer patients will live at least 10 years post diagnosis.
The 15-year survival rate is only 5% lower than the 10-year rate.
At least 79% of all breast cancer patients will live at least 15 years post diagnosis.
79 out of every 100 breast cancer patients have made it at least 15 years.
I have friends who have made it a lot longer than that, they were diagnosed at stage 3.
I plan to follow in their footsteps.
Other Things to Consider That May Ease Your Mind
The people who don’t make it often have other health issues that complicate the situation. Those who are elderly and/or already in fragile health in general always have a harder fight than the otherwise healthy do. That is a very sad reality of the world. Some are the people fall into those categories where it was already in an advanced stage and in distant parts of the body before it was discovered, some suspected or feared it was there and tried to ignore it and hoped it would go away, and by the time they officially diagnosed it, it was in major organs. So, don’t avoid it, meet it head on and deal with it .
Don’t Give Up –
Even if you are one of the people whose breast cancer was not discovered until it was at a highly advanced stage, and had already spread to other parts of your body and invaded major organs of your body, don’t give up . Approximately 26% of people in that situation live “at least” five years. Not “only”.
Over 1/4th of people diagnosed with the most depressing ratings in regards to cancer still beat it. Never think of it as five year as “only”. Think of it as “at least.” If you can beat that 5 year mark, maybe you can beat that 10 year mark, and maybe that 15 year mark.
Every day, month, year you make it, is a day, month, year the research has improved.
Never Give Up!
Never Forget They Mean “at Least” not “Only”!