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Sharing an article - "cancer's long-term prognosis"

hessomhessom Posts: 110 ✭✭✭
I wanted to share an article with the community, written by Ranjana Srivastava as an opinion piece for the Guardian.

She writes about the long-term prognosis for cancer patients and how she feels more hopeful for her patients than has been the case in the past. The article touches on a number of points and whilst access to treatment isn't always equal, overall things continue to improve. Importantly, Ranjana also writes about the the importance of continued care and support for patients, even beyond cancer, and recognising that effects of cancer are far reaching for many years after treatment ends - something we care about deeply.

For those interested, you can read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2019/jan/16/cancers-long-term-prognosis-as-an-oncologist-ive-never-been-so-hopeful

We'd love to hear the communities thoughts, both on the article and also treatment before and after cancer.


  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,445 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Hessom for posting the article, I found it very interesting to hear from an oncologist's perspective.

    I think it is always good to hear how much is being discovered and the breakthroughs that occur in looking for new and more effective ways in treating cancer. We are very fortunate here in the UK and other countries to have the care we do, even though there is still a disparity between health authorities as to the timeliness and quality of that care and access to particular drugs is sometimes a battle. But that is another issue completely! At least we have it. 
    The statistics Ranjana shared are heart-breaking, the saying 'there is always someone worse off than you' is true.

    I am very fortunate in the care I have received since being diagnosed with cancer. My doctors, oncologists, and surgeons have been excellent, I have felt they really were on my side, even to the point of bending the rules in my favour, when they shouldn't have. Although not to the detriment of another patient.

    With regards to communication, I think my medical team took their cue from me to some extent. Obviously they had to inform me of the diagnosis and proposed course of action intended. But I didn't enquire or ask too many detailed questions about the cancer itself. This was deliberate on my part, I know some people need to know every single detail, to know exactly what they are up against, but for me this would have been worse. I needed to concentrate on getting out through the other side, dwelling on the intricacy's of the disease would have caused more fear and terror. 

    I didn't express this verbally, but I found no-one divulged information other than what was necessary. Perhaps this is deliberate until a question is asked, to spare us of more anxiety. It was only when I had an appointment with my radiotherapy oncologist and she mentioned some details that shocked me. I was so glad I hadn't known that at the beginning!! 
    They encouraged my positivity and determination to fight, and not cave in. 

    Since my treatment has finished, I am still not completely signed off, and have regular appointments to check things are good.

    I have had several 'after' side-effects, and the willingness to help me overcome them, refer me to other specialist help etc has been great. When I had a reaction to meds 18 months after the end of treatment,  I made one phone call, and was immediately fast-tracked back into the system to get it sorted. I know not everyone has this level of care.  

    The hospital run drop-in coffee mornings once a month that you can go along to, just to chat with others. The breast care nurses are always available at these too should there be any queries etc. They have people visiting who offer help for post-cancer patients, courses, exercise classes, groups etc. They are trying to help people move on after cancer. Anything like this can only be a good thing. 

    I think a lot of post-cancer living requires a lot of 'self-help' and that is not easy. Massive understatement I know.
    Having a place like this to come to is a huge benefit, sharing ideas, thoughts etc can often trigger our own ideas that can lead us into better situations. 

    Anyway, just a few thoughts...hahaha :) 

    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, thanks for posting that @hessom

    It is certainly encouraging to know that effective treatments for previously untreatable cancers are continuously being developed. 

    Not unsurprisingly, I take a particular interest in treatments for advanced prostate cancer. At the moment, the androgen deprivation hormone treatment (chemical castration) which I receive is keeping the cancer under control, but it is not a cure and the side effects, mental and physical are not great.  Sooner or later, the treatment will stop working and my cancer will become a metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) which is a cancer for which hormone therapy is no longer effective in stopping or slowing the disease. In effect, the cancer will escape control, and waiting for my quarterly blood test results is always tinged with anxiety. 

    Last week my urologist told me about a new recently approved treatment which can resist the cancer indefinitely and which has NO side effects. Apparently it costs £4K per month and not unnaturally, it is not bandied around just yet. He did say though, that when my cancer becomes (mCRPC) I will be eligible to receive it. 😀 

    As we know, there are several community members who are facing terminal diagnoses and it is encouraging to believe that there will be a breakthrough which will change that. 

    You seem to have been treated very kindly @lou. When I was first given the news of my cancer, it was very gloomy and no reference was made to getting support from MacMillans. I have been on a bit of a crusade about that and things have improved, but a friend was recently told over the phone that he has pancreatic cancer and about 6 months to live. On the phone for goodness sake, so there is still work to be done. 

    Apologies for rambling. 


  • polsterpolster Posts: 2

    Hello RobertA, Was there ever any feedback on the £4K treatment? Im heading that way , Docataxel was no good as was ADT (Aber' ). Hoping to get onto some trials, have to wait and see. Good Luck. Polster

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 143 ✭✭✭


    Hi there Polster

    At the time of my previous post (RobertA Jan 2019) I was on Decapeptyl which is the brand name for Triptorelin. It was administered quarterly by injection and my PSA remained very low for three years. A year ago, my Consultant decided that I should come off the treatment. Unfortunately for me, my PSA has started rising rapidly and it is clear that I will need to return to some sort of treatment though at this stage I do not know what that will be. Abiraterone has been mentioned and I have resorted to Doctor Google for further info. I am not sure that is the same treatment I mentioned in my post two years ago as it does seem to come with side effects and in truth, it did rather sound too good to be true.

    A friend was accepted for clinical trials which he found out about via Prostate cancer UK He had also contacted Cancer Research UK who have a Clinical Trials database.

    I am due to see my Consultant next week and I will be happy to let you know how I get on.

    All the best


  • polsterpolster Posts: 2

    Hi Bob, Thanks for prompt reply 👍 Decapeptyle didn’t work very long for me, about 6 months.Still on it but I don’t think it is doing anything now .Hopefully start medical trail after all pre tests / scans . All a bit of a wing and prayer…..

    👍 Polster

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    Hi Polster

    I'm sorry to hear that Decapeptyl only worked for a short period of time. I have just been put back on it and so it is too early to see how it will go for me.

    I have read about a system of combining existing treatments which has apparently been successful in trials. Here is an article about it which I found in Prostate Cancer UK.

    I wish you all the best and hope you will keep in touch.



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