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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Tuesday April 09, 2002
08:57 AM

Some thoughts on cancer

[ #4053 ]
Don't expect doctors to have the answers. They speak in carefully guarded probabilities.

Don't expect doctors to necessarily have your quality of life foremost in their minds. When they say "it would be easiest to do X", ask them whether it's easiest for you the patient or them the doctor. Similarly, "it would be best" ... for whom?

Find a cancer support group and talk to them. Find your local branch of the Cancer Society and talk to them. These folks can give you emotional perspectives that you can't get from doctors. (e.g., "What's it like to have only one breast?").

Double-check every medication you're given to see whether it interacts with your others. One of my relatives is constantly catching doctors attempting to prescribe dangerous cocktails. "Oh yeah, you're right. Try this one instead," they'll say.

Read up on side-effects from medication and be vigilant. Again, relative kicked cancer without blinking, but the complications of treatment nearly killed her, and drugs damaged her liver, gave her a heart attack, and brought on diabetes.


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  • by hfb (74) on 2002.04.09 11:11 (#6788) Homepage Journal

    Just because they have an MD, Ph.d. behind the name doesn't make them miracle workers. Hospitals are horribly understaffed and what staff there is available are overworked to the point of making stupid mistakes. Medicine isn't a right to life but merely a possibility at cheating death a little while longer. There are no guarantees in this lifetime so why should medicine be any different?

    I don't know which was worse; watching my father die of esophageal cancer or my mother's helplessness to save him after years of dispensing medical service to others. Cancer is always harder on those nearest to the patient since the patient has no other choice but to prepare for the inevitable. Be happy, she's alive.

  • One thing Doctors don't usually tell you about cancer: The treatments make you far sicker than the cancer will (usually - unless it is very far along).

    I hear this has come a long way even in the last two years. But in general the treatments are pretty hellish. Radiotherapy is hard emotionally, because nobody can go near the patient while the treatment is being given (and it can get worse but I won't go into details). Chemo is just plain awful.
  • It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other men, to mistake subsequence for consequence - Dr Johnson. Still seems a fair comment over 200 years later