Few things cam be more devastating than being given a diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’ve read that such patients have a survival rate of only 2%. As one doctor put it, such a diagnosis is viewed by many as the equivalent to a–give-or-take six month–death sentence.
Please also read my June 1 blog repost of a piece by Dr. Keith Block entitled,”Cancer survival statistics: Can your physician really predict how long you have to live?”
I love stories of people that defy the odds. Which is why I decided to post this interview of an over twelve year survivor of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It was recently done so I’m assuming that he’s still alive and plugging along. Such inspiring stories are out there in books, blogs, and videos. But you do need to dig for them.
After my wife’s breast cancer recurred (stage 4) and finally correctly diagnosed she was put on the chemo ladder of drugs. As the cancer adapts the patient is bumped up to the next newer (and more expensive) drug. Despite eventually being bumped up to use of a drug that cost $11,000 a bottle of 120 tablets the cancer spread from her chest wall to form thirty lesions on her lungs. Unfortunately I was given the unspoken impression the cachexia symptoms she was experiencing (quick weight loss of 32 lbs., profound and growing weakness, loss of appetite) was a natural result of the progression of the disease and I should expect it to get worse until she died.
Fortunately I decided not to passively accept that assessment and decided to research what we could do to influence the outcome (even if that only meant slowing down the progression and pushing back the “inevitable” a few weeks or months). After my research and the dietary and lifestyle changes we made, her symptoms started to reverse and eventually went away and the lesions started to shrink). I have not discounted the part conventional care had in her survival but I believe integrating scientifically based anticancer diet and lifestyle changes had a big part in reversing her downward slide and giving her back a better quality of life.
The lesson I learned is to take control of your health. In far more cases than we know we can influence the outcome. The decision to “give up” is between you, your family, maybe a few of your closest friends (and God).