June 20, 2018 | ° F

Conquering Cancer


Conquering Cancer

One of my two roommates returned to our apartment last night completely distraught. She confessed that earlier in the day that her dad disclosed that he’d been diagnosed with Stage I Hodgkin lymphoma. Though the prognosis was apparently promising, she was still worried to death. 

I can’t blame her, since her grandpa passed away a few years ago due to aggressive melanoma. My other roommate, whose concentration is pre-med, tried to calm her down unsuccessfully. While it’s obviously frightening any time a friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a death sentence. 

We’d like to find a way to help her deal with the situation and be optimistic. What might help with that in this situation?

It’s never easy to cope with knowing that a beloved friend or family member is struggling with cancer. Expect it to be more difficult to reconcile if he or she has already tragically lost another family member to cancer. In 2016, researchers estimated more than 1.5 million cancer diagnoses in 2016 and further predicted almost 600,000 cancer-related fatalities. But those statistics can be misleading because, as you’ve already observed, there’s a multitude of different cancers each with their own stages, symptoms, treatments, and survival rates. 

Cancer is a widespread and indiscriminate disease. As a result, medical practitioners have devoted significant time and effort publishing helpful resources for both patients and their loved ones. For instance, experts at the American Cancer Society compiled a comprehensive list of information to guide anyone that knows someone else diagnosed with cancer. That’s an excellent place to begin your endeavor. 

Another sounds strategy is investigating these 11 tips for coping with cancer. While some of the recommendations are likely to be irrelevant, others are certain to prove insightful. One important aspect is developing a complex understanding of what it’s like to live with cancer as a patient. Avoid making any hasty assumptions and basing future decisions on them. Patients have enough to worry about without having to educate others on the realities of their disease. Be mindful of that. 

Your roommate can take at least some solace in the fact that Stage I Hodgkin lymphoma has a 95% survival rate amongst those diagnosed. Contrast that with later stage malignant melanoma, which is extremely virulent and often lethal to its victims. Though both are well-defined cancers, the former isn’t nearly as serious as the latter. It’s probably prudent to search for a local cancer care clinic that offers specialized treatments. 

One final consideration that could help your roommate and her dad is looking into ways he might manage his symptoms. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and natural remedies are all viable options linked to positive outcomes. Less conventional but increasingly popular is using CBD oil for cancer symptoms. This shouldn’t be confused with the active chemical ingredient, THC, which produces psychoactive effects. CBD-based treatments are becoming more widely available thanks to the marijuana legalization movement and critical advancements made in the medicinal space. 

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” -- John Diamon


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