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Not understanding cancer prognosis! Help!!

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Old 04-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #1
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Location: Enterprise, AL, USA
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Exclamation Not understanding cancer prognosis! Help!!

My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in October 2010, although his oncologist said that it could be considered stage 3 because of recent changes to the way the rating system works. He went through chemo & radiation & has been in remission for the past year. I assumed this was a really good thing & meant that he was cancer free & basically things were back to normal even though the cancer could come back at any time..but honestly, that could happen to ANYONE, whether they had had cancer before or not. Anyway, he went to see his radiologist last week & I believe he told my dad his survival rate was 50% for five years. I honestly do not understand this because I thought if you were in remission then the chances of you dying from cancer would be just like anything else...whether you died in a car crash or from the flu, etc. I don't understand why there is a survival rate at all if he is in remission. Does this mean doctors base that on people who aren't in remission or people who chose not to use any treatment? I have looked everyone online for this information & can't seem to find anything that truly answers my question. I understand that people who have had cancer before have a greater risk of it coming back, but like I said...EVERYONE runs the risk of developing cancer so why does that even matter? My dad is only focusing on the worst case scenario & is thinking that he is going to die within less than five years. I know that attitude means everything when it comes to dealing with cancer, but now that his radiologist has told him the survival rates, he seems very sure that he isn't going to survive very long. I need some kind of straightforward information to explain to him that this isn't necessarily the case. I can't believe this doctor didn't explain this better to him! If anyone could help me with this I would be so greatful!!

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Old 04-11-2012, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: Not understanding cancer prognosis! Help!!


I am sorry to hear about your dad. It works like this. . .Until you have been cancer free for 5 years you are not "cured". The rate the doc is giving you is based on the relapse rate and 5 year survival rate based on the type and stage of cancer. The longer he stays in remission the better the prognosis will be.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you need anything else

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Old 04-14-2012, 11:30 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Re: Not understanding cancer prognosis! Help!!

Thanks for explaining that better to me! Out of curiosity, where did you get this information from? I've looked everywhere online for more info on this topic & came up short.

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cancer, lung, prognosis, remission

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