So Victoria Derbyshire has breast cancer and has used her ‘workplace’ as a platform to let people know she is a determined survivor. Nothing wrong with that, it’s great cancer awareness for some and inspiration for others (including me). However, reading through various newspaper follow-up articles, blogs and social media comments, I can see criticism by many for producing an over simplified message (see picture below). Although many of us will be wishing it was so, not all cancer is simple!
Take Neuroendocrine Cancer for example. For some, this ‘silent’ cancer can take years to be finally diagnosed whilst the patient is misdiagnosed with other conditions often with debilitating symptoms. Once diagnosed, surgery (if it’s possible) is just one of a number of treatment options and it will often be multiple times. Follow on treatments include an array of biochemical and nuclear options. If the disease is metastatic, which it frequently is due to its years of ‘silence’, then the condition normally becomes incurable and the patient will be treated for the forseeable future, very often with a reduced quality of life. Victoria might not think she had a fight but for many others, this is a particularly apt word – especially those who can never be sure the cancer has gone.
I’m not suggesting that well-known people shouldn’t make their cancer experience public – in fact I’m all for that!
Get well soon Victoria, I really mean that.
16 thoughts on “Not all Cancer is simple”
Just keep calm and carry on!
I think I’ll start using that – planning to die of something else sounds good to me.
So, I had a carcinoid taken out of my eye orbit and intestines, I’ve had scans for almost a year with no sign of tumors returning, what is that considered?
It’s not an exact science Chris and I don’t know your full history etc (particularly grade and stage). Carcinoid is notorious for being sneaky. Generally it is not an aggressive or dangerous disease. However, even low grade tumours can spread by invading surrounding tissue and sending ‘seedlings’ (metastases) to grow in distant areas. Metastatic carcinoid is generally incurable and the patient should be under surveillance perhaps with treatment for the foreseeable future. I’ve been stable for 3 years but I know I have tumours in my body. I also know others will probably appear at some stage (currently too small to see and benign enough to hide). Live your life but keep in contact with your doctors and listen to your body.
Neuro endocrine cancer is simply managed. It is not cured. We will die from this cancer. Period. Unless we get hit by a truck first which I guess is possible since most of us live with cancer for months or years after our diagnosis. Other than that we should be planning our deaths as much as we enjoy and celebrate each dawn. We don’t control the storm but we do control how we set our sails. Have fun everyone because life is a hell of a ride!
Not planning my death and I intend to die of something else 😀
Didn’t you just say that?! 🙂 ha ha ha ha!!!!
So, I guess you are choosing the truck? 🙂
The survivor context was associated with her, not me 😉
You said what I was thinking.
I agree on the oversimplification theme of your post. In fact, I’ve always had a problem when I see people say they are carcinoid cancer or neuroendocrine cancer survivors. No such thing since our cancer is NOT curable. Maybe we should make that part of our awareness efforts. Neuroendocrine cancer and carcinoid cancer is not curable and can currently only be “managed” until the battle is lost and death occurs. To harsh?
I’m certain many cancer patients die of things other than their cancer Ed 😊 That’s my plan!
Me too but it’s misleading to say you are a carcinoid or net cancer survivor….in my opinion. No? At least right now.
I know what you mean, I do avoid the word ‘survivor’. It doesn’t seem to fit nicely alongside incurable. The verb is better though 😁
Not sure of what to make of the article, I think it makes the disease sound to simple and straightforward to treat, and in turn will upset many who have been and are going through a similar experience. But you have to admire her positivity.
I wish her a speedy recovery.
totally, I like positivity. I tried to be as balanced as possible!
I’d say you did, and the feeling about over simplification it reflected in many of the subsequent online articles and comments