At a follow-up meeting during my diagnostic phase in July 2010, the specialist who was investigating my pre-diagnosis secondary care appointment, was clearly suspicious that I had cancer. As the results of my liver biopsy were not yet in, he was not in a position to declare his findings. However, following my revelation about flushing during this meeting, he immediately guessed the biopsy would confirm Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET). I can’t remember much of the conversation but I vividly remember him indicating that of all the issues out there to get, this was one of the better ones. He was using a meter analogy action with his hands swinging towards the ‘good’ reading! I hadn’t gone there that day to receive a cancer diagnosis but he was clearly trying to put me at ease and I’m sure it was with the best of intentions. A little bit of me thinks this scenario is OK but the definition of ‘Good’ before treatment is known what the treatment outcomes will be, might just set expectations too high! I still think I had an early diagnosis at Stage 4 – even that doesn’t make it good though!
This is a very topical subject on forums and some patients are not happy being told their cancer is a ‘good’ cancer or one of the ‘better’ cancers to get. Whenever this subject comes up it tends to overlap and extend into associated areas including the deception where people look so well so how can they possibly have a ‘bad’ cancer. If I had an opinion, I would say that no cancer is good but it’s true to say that some are worse than others, e.g. certain cancers will kill lots of people quickly and that’s awful – I’m fairly certain that is what the doctor above had in mind.
Some cancers can be declared in remission after a period but some cancers can stay with you for the rest of your life. Some cancers can result in long-term debilitating side effects. Additionally, the consequences of treatment for certain cancers can be difficult to live with, meaning significant lifestyle changes in the long-term or for life. This is precisely why many cancer patients who live with these ‘consequences’ are angry at the suggestion their cancer is a ‘good one to get’.
Dear Doctors – There’s no such thing as a ‘good’ cancer! They’re all bad? By the way – Neuroendocrine Cancer is really SNEAKY!
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An Ode to Invisible Illness – click here
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Thanks for reading