- My first thought of those with cancer is whether or not they actually know what type of cancer they have. For those of us who are very diligent in keeping a close watch on our loved ones cancer journey, this may seem a stupid question, but in actual fact it is a very real and at the same time "sad" point that numerous cancer patients DO NOT know their type of cancer. Just yesterday I spoke with someone who's relative has been diagnosed and when I asked what type of cancer she had, they responded with the words "She doesn't know"!!! The cancer is in her lungs and her liver so she assumes it's lung cancer. My question is "How the heck can a patient get treated properly for their cancer if their TYPE of cancer has not been determined. Sometimes a biopsy may be needed to find out the exact cancer type, maybe it can be verified through a blood test, or of course, if the patient has undergone surgery, then the pathology report will identify it precisely, but many are told they have cancer after a CT or MRI and sadly the patient or caregiver NEVER asks what is the TYPE of cancer or KIND of cancer that they have. There are well over 200+ different types of cancer and check out this link to find out more information on some of them from A to Z as posted by the National Cancer Institute.
- My next point here is that many cancer patients and their caregivers NEVER check further through other medium such as the Internet or through associations that deal with specific cancers to see what new treatments or innovations are being developed. They just accept hook, line and sinker so to speak what their doctor tells them. Now, after my saying that, you do have to listen to your doctor's opinion of course, but it's always best to research, do your own investigating and link up communication lines with other cancer patients and their caregivers. I know first hand, that if you sometimes take "only" your doctor's diagnosis, then you can most definitely be headed down a difficult road with no other options. After all, just think about it a moment, can any one doctor be expected to know everything there is to know about each type of cancer and how to treat each one - the answer is a definite "NO" so it's up to you to do your homework.
- Now, there's an entire new post needed for my next explanation of whether or not you are taking time to see the entire picture - that involves your hospital stay - if in fact you do have to be hospitalized at anytime while you have cancer. You most definitely need someone with you at ALL times to be your second eyes and ears when you are in hospital. Mistakes can happen in hospitals and I know first hand that they do, so my advice would be to BE WARE if you become a patient there. I'll leave this topic for another day as I could literally write a book based on my husband's experiences when in hospital. That being said though, he's also had excellent care and testing but it only takes one mistake to keep you on high alert!
Be vigilant, be curious and be an advocate!