Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cancer myth-your tumor has been there for years

When someone first finds out they have a tumor, often they can not schedule a biopsy for 2 weeks or so and in my case, surgery for 6 weeks! (it was later moved up). Meanwhile the patient is going crazy convinced this monster is growing and spreading and there isn't any-f-ing thing she can do about it but fret. When she expresses her extreme anxiety at the situation, she is told
Relax! Your tumor has been there for years. Do you think a few weeks are going to make a difference?

Well yes I do. In my case, my nice petite tumor in the beginning of September measuring in at 1.6 cm at its largest dimension (and all the dimensions were measured down to the millimeter)morphed by the beginning of October into 3 cm. The measurements in September were from an ultrasound: the same technology which enabled my daughter to see a cleft in Oliver's lip when he was an 18 week fetus and for my sweet oncology social worker the other day to notice distinctive differences in her 20 week fetal twins so she knows the girls won't look the least bit alike. Well maybe the difference in size was due to the tentacles that didn't show, but I think it grew such that my survival, on paper at least, went from 80% to 70%. I was reminded by this as the other lady in the group Friday said her tumor doubled in a month. This tumor is estrogen and Her2 positive. Also it's in her nodes. Numerous stories such as this exist.

Another argument I have showing this indeed is a myth and probably a statement to prevent possible lawsuits is this:
In 2002, that huge women's Collective Health Study on replacement hormones was halted because too many women taking the replacements (HRT) had breast cancer and heart attacks compared to the women on no HRT. Many women panicked and chucked the Prem-Pro. Just a few years later, a big drop in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients is noticed largely attributed to the drop in Prem-Pro's and its ilk use. This would be the estrogen positive kind: the slow growing, relatively indolent variety. Now if BC really takes 20 years to rear its very ugly head, this would not be observed in 4 years. My point: if there is any interest in improving the survival rate of cancer patients in general would be to speed up the time between identification and treatment.

Usually I get my mammograms in May but this year, bad idea as it may or may not be, I decided to wait until after my trip to Italy. I was very lucky (as it turns out) to get an appointment within a week in September (instead of the usual 6 month wait) and the 1.6 cm thing was observed (but not felt even when I knew it was there). How big would it have been in May 2008? How big would it have been in May 2009?

Another study I read about today and this has nothing to do with cancer: comparative lifespans between those with 'good' initials and 'bad' ones. An example of each would be VIP and DUD. People with the former lived 4 years longer than the latter on the average. I've been told by the recipients at least, that I suck at naming babies. Josh has complained the least (or not at all) yet I gave him the life shortening initials: JRK.

No moms group last night due to the snow.One mom brought me today  yummy soup and another  will come over later. Thank-you, friends!!! Two more relatively good days until I am poisoned again.

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