New Focus on Cancer Survivorship
The very good news is that increasing numbers of people are surviving cancer and going on to live long and healthy lives. This is especially true with breast cancer as the survival rate has improved with earlier diagnoses and better treatments. The less good news is that cancer treatments often leave us with a myriad of emotional and physical problems that, until recently, no one much considered. After all, if you were expected to die quickly, it didn't much matter if you had muscle aches and pains, fatigue, or an absent libido. Those things, and many more, matter a lot when life is blessedly longer.
This general topic will be a mainstay of this blog, and I will return time and time again to specifics. Many of you know that I have written a book titled After Breast Cancer: A Commonsense Guide to Life After Treatment. It has done well enough to have a second printing, and is widely available at bookstores and on Amazon
Today I want to share a brief article from Medscape that highlights this important topic: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/589574
This article discusses a panel that just took place at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Conference in Florida. In addition to the usual references to the issues we experience, there is an especially (at least to me) interesting comment from Elizabeth Edwards. As you know, she has been diagnosed with Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer and is aware that this is an incurable disease. She says that she has not had a single conversation about dying with any of her doctors. I believe that we all deserve discussions both about issues of living and, when appropriate, issues related to the end of life.
I would welcome your comments and questions about survivorship.