I may be posting videos here from time to time. And Dr. Stubblefield seen below may get a lot of coverage, because he is clearly one of the pioneers in research involving Cancer Survivorship. This is just a very quick (2 minute) excerpt from a speech he gave on Radiation Fibrosis, which I will show in another post. Basically, he talks about how the number of survivors has increased with time. Give it a quick look if you will.
The simple fact is, since around the 1960’s more and more people are surviving longer and longer after cancer diagnosis. This is largely due to improved techniques in both radiation and chemotherapy, and the ability to target tumors with more precision.
But these techniques, though constantly improving, come with a price. And those of us who were treated and actually cured many years ago are now examples of what that price can be. In a way, I guess you could say we were the test subjects, and research into long term effects from our treatments are giving doctors information that they didn’t have before, simply because, before, people didn’t survive this long.
This month marks my 60th birthday, and my 44th year cancer free. Pretty amazing, right?
Because of what doctors are observing in cancer survivors today, they are figuring out how to treat more efficiently, to avoid similar late effects in future patients. This doesn’t mean all effects will be avoided, but quality of life should be improved for the future generations. It is my hope that one day, these late effects will no longer be a problem, but for the time being, and in my case, they are certainly very real.
And just as they are a part of my life, so are they a part of the lives of many cancer survivors, especially those of us who have come so far.
Most of us first generation survivors didn’t know what to expect. A lot still don’t. But not just the survivors – there are many doctors today that have no idea that symptoms they see in patients that were once treated for cancer may be related to their treatment from years ago.
If even one survivor, one doctor, one friend or relative of a cancer survivor is helped by becoming aware of what will be in this blog, then I will have done what I set out to do.