Thursday, March 19, 2015

Out of the Woods and into the Scary Places That Come after Cancer

Did you win your battle with cancer? Are they having a party for the end of her chemo? Did he triumph? survive? or "beat it"? That's what we hear--especially from those around the cancer patient--but it turns out that may not be what the one with cancer is feeling. Yes, the platitudes and made-for-TV-movies are filled with triumphant, "I can do anything now that I beat cancer". But sometimes cancer is still kicking your ass even after you beat it.

This week in the New York Times, the experienced and articulate Suleika Jaquad, who has been writing about her leukemia, now talks about what happens after cancer, and what happens when the "end of treatment" becomes a never-ending cancer aftermath. The part no one wants to hear--and sometimes, maybe often, the very folks who treat cancer. 

You'll want to read this if you have had cancer so you'll know that what you are experiencing is not just you and that you don't need to "make a gratitude list." And you'll want to read this if someone you care about has or had cancer so you are never tempted to say, "Buck up, you can do anything; you beat cancer." And if you are an employer or supervisor, pay attention to this--you'll want to be sensitive when an employee with cancer returns to work.

Here's the article:

And Here is Why This Matters:
"A report last year by the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, estimates there are almost 14.5 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today, and that number will grow to almost 19 million by 2024. Although more and more Americans are surviving cancer thanks to early detection programs, new treatment regimens and awareness campaigns, much remains to be learned about the short- and long-term issues faced by survivors. With long-term survival comes a new challenge: how to keep cancer survivors healthy and emotionally stable after treatment ends."

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