Advocating For Your Health
- After seeking medical attention for a sore throat and a papery whisper of a voice, Jen Hardy was eventually diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
- Metastatic breast cancer is technically not curable, but with ongoing advancements in treatments and options to dramatically reduce symptoms, there are many reasons to be hopeful.
- Being your own advocate can be key to coming to a correct cancer diagnosis and obtaining the best treatment possible while dealing with a diagnosis.
Cancer diagnoses always come as an unwanted surprise. Take Scottish mother Jen Hardy, for example. Her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis came about after seeking medical attention for a symptom more unusual than most: a sore throat and a papery whisper of a voice.
Hardy, 54, went to the doctor thinking she had a throat infection and left with a diagnosis of laryngitis and a recommendation of rest. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a misdiagnosis.
After five weeks of barely being able to speak, she returned to her doctor and was sent for a CT scan. The results that came back were shocking.
I had lost my voice for weeks, but I never thought that it would be cancer and had no concept of the urgency when I was told to come straight home,she told BBC Scotland. And even when I was told it was incurable I still didnt appreciate what it meant.
Stage 4 Prostate Cancer
Am new to this and unsure where to even start. Husband has had a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Gleason score of 8, MRI suggested spread to some lymph nodes and bone scan initially clear. Subsequent PET scan has revealed a suspected spot in his lower spine. Feeling utterly terrified after some initial googling on survival rates. He has begun hormone therapy and will have chemo. Has anyone been through similar and defied the odds? Any advice on where to find clinical trials? Am grateful that it only seems to be in one small area of bone and hoping this means it can be stopped in its tracks? He is in general good health and not feeling unwell.
Thank you so much for reading,
Cancer Survivorship Is As Unique As The Survivor
There are nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the United States, and each will contend with the effects of their diagnosis and treatment in different ways. Personalized treatment options continue to be studied, but as the number of survivors keeps growing, research is also being devoted to finding ways to improve overall care and well-being so that survivors can go on to live longer, healthier lives.
Eric: Head And Neck Cancer Survivor
Eric Bowles was 16 when he noticed what he thought was a canker sore on the side of his tongue. Over the next month the sore gradually grew, but only bothered him if directly touched. During routine x-rays at the dentists office, Eric asked them to be careful since he had a spot on his tongue that was sensitive. The dentist took one look and called an oral surgeon who met with Eric the next day and performed a biopsy of the lesion. Everyone was shocked when the diagnosis came back as squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.
Any Stage Iv Success Stories
|Feb 21, 2012 – 5:34 pm|
My Mom’s biopsy results just came back and what the doctors had originally thought was a sarcoma came back as a carcinoma, originating in the uterus.
My Dad didn’t ask any more but her appointment with the Gyn Oncologist is in a couple of weeks. Until then, we are just waiting and feeding her the best foods we know how. I hate the waiting and feel like we should be doing something else.
Meanwhile, she has a large tumor in her right leg , which we thought was the primary, but it’s not. It’s so painful that she can hardly walk any longer and must use a walker for the little walking she does do. It is also in her left leg, pelvis and lungs.
The doctors said it’s slightly easier to treat, however when she first when in 2 weeks ago they said it was too advanced to treat .
We are looking into alternative treatments as well and since there seems to be more active voices on this discussion board verses the sarcoma one, I thought I would ask for some hope.
She won’t talk about it either, which is hard. I am so sorry all of you having to go through all of this….I just never knew….until now.J
Dealing With The Downsides
Billy has had to cope with side effects from the hormone therapy thats controlling his cancer, including fatigue, weakness, night sweats, and loss of libido and muscle mass. He takes walks to keep fit. Unfortunately, I acquired asthma from the lung surgery that took half of my left lung, and now I have to carry an oxygen tank to enable me to walk, he says. If I dont use it, Im not going to get very far, but I dont want to reduce my activity level. I refuse to accept that.
These side effects can be scary, he says, but its nice to know that MSK offers resources like the Sexual Health Program that can address some of them. MSK also provides services such as social work, physical rehabilitation, and complementary therapies. Billy didnt end up using those particular options, but he says, Theres a certain level of comfort and security about MSK that I dont believe I would get anywhere else. I feel safe. They have my back.
This was especially evident when Billy became depressed after learning he had metastatic prostate cancer and also losing his younger brother to suicide. He reached out to MSKs Counseling Center for someone to talk to. Depression is slow and insidious I was just sinking into an abyss, and losing my brother was the tipping point for me, he recalls.
Surviving Metastatic Prostate Cancer Derek Lawrence
I first learned that I had prostate cancer from my urologist in 1995, and he told me that I actually had a very aggressive cancer.
I had been to my family doctor in 1992 and 1993 for my annual checkup, which was fine no mention was ever made to me about having a PSA blood test, but I was given a digital rectal exam. Somehow I missed my checkup in 1994, and by 1995, it was a completely different story. My doctor found that there was hardness on the outside of the prostate and also some nodules, but I was told that it was not serious, although he sent me to an urologist for further examination.
The urologist gave me my first PSA blood test, which was 10.4, and he sent me to Sunnybrook for a biopsy I had a total of nine shots which showed that I had a Gleason Score of nine and a grade of cancer T2C. Because I had a cancerous nodule at the apex of the prostate, prostate surgery to remove my prostate was not an option, so I was put on Andracur, an oral hormone treatment. I remained on Andracur for two years, having blood tests every three months. I was then told that my cancer was dormant and in remission, but in 1997, after changing hospitals, I found that this was not the case.
Holland Landing, Ontario
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You Can Beat Cancerwhether Youre A Celebrity Or Not
Cancer can be life-changing, whether you live in Hollywood or not. But fighting this dangerous enemy can bring out the best in human resilience. Survivors say theyve learned important lessons and savor every breath they take. If you know someone who made it through this deadly disease, be sure to congratulate him or her by sending encouraging notes, cards, and cancer survivor gifts.
And if youre fighting cancer yourself, take inspiration from famous cancer survivors who have been where you are and won the battle.
Jeanne: Pancreatic Cancer Survivor
Jeanne Czel went from enjoying retirement and playing golf in a benefit tournament in North Carolina, to a month later undergoing what would be one of the most difficult years of her life. It started with an uncomfortable feeling in her chest that she attributed to heart burn or acid reflux, although she had never experienced either before. She was still not feeling right, but had no alarming symptoms such as pain, or weight loss. Normally a very active person, when she started noticing loss of energy, she made an appointment to meet with her gastroenterologist. On July 21, 2011, after undergoing blood work, an MRI and a CT scan, Jeanne received a diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer it had metastasized to her liver and duodenum.
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I’m Sorry Your Mother Is
I’m sorry your mother is dealing with such an advanced stage of cancer. Usually, the Stage is determined after surgery but the results of the tests must be indicative. How treatable it is, will depend a great deal on the type of uterine cancer and the Grade of her cancer. The waiting is very difficult– no answers, no information. The gyn-onc will be the most informative. Your mother is most likely quite fearful of what this all means and the most you can do is be there for her and be as supportive as you can. Feeding her a highly nutritious diet will help her stay in best condition for any upcoming treatment.
I was Stage IVb following surgery four years ago with an aggressive cancer, UPSC. I continue to be in treatment for recurrences but I am still here! With these diseases each case is unique and will follow a specific treatment plan which can include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy – and this can be affected by any other health issues she may be dealing with.Take care and let us know how she is doing.Annie
Raffaella: Breast Cancer Survivor
Raffaella Zanuttinis busy life as a Professor of Linguistics at Yale, as a wife, and as a mother of two boys, 12 and 15, does not leave her much spare time. So when her February mammogram showed more calcifications lined up in a suspicious pattern and the nurses at the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital recommended she have a biopsy, she was not ready to act. After having the biopsy done, Rafaella was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ . She made an appointment with Dr. Anees Chagpar, Director of the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
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I Really Want To Live
So its a positive world out there. I can tell you this, Larry. When people come to me and say Dennis, I hear you had some good success with people whove had stage 4 cancer and Ive got this, what do you think? And I simply say to them, You know, one of my requirements is that Ive got to have you answer one question for me first. And they say Yes, what is your question? And I wait purposely quite awhile. I want them to kinda get thinking in their mind What the heck is he gonna ask me? Because I want them really thinking about it.
Then I said Okay heres the question: Do you really want to live?And I dont say another word. And when I get that positive exciting response like Yes, Yes Denny. I really want to live! I really want to live! And I get that kinda response from a lot of them. And I said I want to tell you something. Youre already half healed. Your body is gonna work with you if you give it the right stuff. And I said I got just the stuff that you need to take.
Prostate Cancer Survivor: Cancer Doesn’t Mean You Have To Stop Living
In June 2012, I was a 41-year old husband, father of three and Army squadron commander in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I was about to deploy to Afghanistan, when a stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis changed everything.Well, not everything.Instead of retiring or changing jobs in order to focus solely on my health, I made the difficult choice, supported by my commanders, to remain in command. I wasn’t able to deploy but I did continue in command of almost 700 soldiers while doing all my treatment.In retrospect, this decision was the best one I could have made. Doing what I loved allowed me to continue my normal life with my family and soldiers, while still undergoing an aggressive prostate cancer treatment program at MD Anderson.My prostate cancer treatmentWhen I received my diagnosis, I tackled prostate cancer the same way I had looked at any other problem I’ve encountered in my 20 years of military training. I wanted another opinion and more aggressive prostate cancer treatment options, which brought me to MD Anderson. From the beginning, I started learning about prostate cancer.
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Prostate Cancer Is Common With Aging
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. And these are just the men who are diagnosed. Among very elderly men dying of other causes, a surprising two-thirds may have prostate cancer that was never diagnosed.
Only 1 in 36 men, though, actually dies from prostate cancer. That’s because most prostate cancers are diagnosed in older men in whom the disease is more likely to be slow-growing and non-aggressive. The majority of these men eventually pass away from heart disease, stroke, or other causes — not their prostate cancer.
Alberto: Head And Neck Cancer Survivor
Alberto Centeno had already been through a bout of stomach cancer in 2008. But in 2013, new symptoms brought him to his local ear, nose, and throat doctor, who scheduled an appointment for him with Dr. Benjamin Judson, Assistant Professor of Surgery and head and neck surgeon at Yale Cancer Center. Albertos diagnosis: throat cancer.
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Victory Over Stage Iv Metastatic Prostate Cancer
I am Jeff Poole, my diagnosis is stage IV metastatic prostate cancer. My journey began in the winter of 2014 when I started experiencing pain in my groin. I would later discover what I assumed was a pulled groin muscle to my surprise would turn out to be cancer.
My pain seemed to be getting better until I slipped on the ice in January of 2015. In February, I went to my Doctor and after finding no muscle issues my doctor ordered blood work. When the blood work results came back, they revealed that my Prostate Specific Antigen was 11, with 4 being normal for my age.
In March, I had a bone scan and a prostate biopsy confirming my cancer with a PSA that was now 26. During the next couple of months my wife, Sherrie and I did a ton of research. I read enough to scare myself, so I decided to let Sherrie research and then discuss her findings with me.
When we met with my Surgeon he sat with us and explained everything one might want to know about prostate cancer and my options. We had decided that prostate removal would be the smart choice if the cancer had not metastasized. The surgeon questioned an issue on the bone scan report, which led to more x-rays and the discovery of two lesions on my pubic bone. I was then referred to my Oncologist. When we met with the Oncologist he sent me for a bone biopsy. The biopsy confirmed the lesions were prostate cancer metastasis.
Is Stage 4 Cancer Always Terminal
More severe cancers are more likely to be terminal. However, that is never a certainty. For example, the American Cancer Society say the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer that spreads to distant body parts is 27%, or 86% when it only spreads locally.
Determining the severity of cancer and its stage is a complex process. Doctors are still learning about all the factors that affect how cancer develops and affects the body.
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Ivelisse Healed Her Stage 4 Colon Cancer With Mistletoes And Plants
Ivelisse is a wife and mother of four kids. She is also a stage IV colon cancer survivor. Her father died of colon cancer when he was in his late thirties.
She knew that her family history put her at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. At a young age, she got regular colonoscopies, ate organic and exercised. Despite this, she developed colon cancer when she was 37.
Ivelisse healed her colon cancer with mistletoe injections
In August of 2008, she felt tired all the time and had to take daily three hour naps in the middle of the day. And when she woke up she still felt exhausted. Ivelisse was a busy mom, owned her own business and homeschooled her kids.
Her husband then convinced her to see the doctor. In the hospital, they discovered that she had colon cancer. She had the same disease as her father and at the same age.Her tumor was five centimeters.
Doctors believed that it was a stage 3 cancer and that it hadn’t spread to any of her vital organs. Ivelisse asked her oncologists what her survival rate was at stage 3 with chemo.
They said she had a 67% chance of survival. She then asked them about the survival rate if she refused chemo. The answer was 57%.
This answer surprised her. What was the use of poisoning your body if you only had a mere 10% higher chance of survival?
Meanwhile, the oncologists pushed her to do chemotherapy.
But then Ivelisse got the worst kind of news.