September 01, 2004

Au Contraire!

While I know I'm a specific and this article outlines a general, I must refute the claims of this article.

First, the claims:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cancer can really mess up a person's life, even years after he or she has beaten the disease, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Cancer survivors have poorer health, lose more days from work and have a generally lower quality of life than people who have never had cancer, the study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (news - web sites) found.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) estimates that 9.8 million cancer patients and survivors are alive now in the United States. About 64 percent of adults and 79 percent of children now survive cancer for at least five years, the CDC says.

These patients have not been studied much, but a series of reports have called for better coordination of care for cancer survivors, especially children. They have found that the harsh treatments often needed to beat cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, can themselves have lasting effects on health.
Yeah, that's nice. You, new cancer survivor, your life's gonna suck. Don't even listen to this. If you're an able-bodied cancer survivor (13 years almost for me, and I'm 32 now, blow a loud raspberry in the general direction of this study.

People, in general, your life's going to lose some quality if you don't...
1) Eat well.
2) Sleep well.
3) Get adequate exercise.
4) Mentally challenge yourself.
5) Positively combat stress.
6) Pursue activities (and people) that/who give you joy.

Bam. There it is. Same advice for cancer survivors as for the rest of the world. The cancer afflicted have two choices: die or survive. Nice boolean condition there. If you survive, you've obviously obtained the better of the two alternatives. Who gives a skinny rat's ass if you have to work a little harder for general "health" when you get a second shot at life. Think Lance Armstrong's whining because of his cancer experience? Obviously not. Anyone want to call him on his health?

Cancer is a wake-up call, a "whoa," whether you bring it on yourself (that stupid smoking thing) or if it's some strange environmental fluke like mine - or something that comes about because of hereditary conditions. I'm facing new side effects in the next x years (however many I have left) - possibilities of cancer treatment-induced cancer, etc. First scare was in June - passed, no issue. So what? What are my choices? Stay as healthy as possible. Take each day as a day. Be thankful all of my limbs work. In the case of one of my coworkers who lost an eye to Ewing's Sarcoma, I'm sure he'd say, "be glad for my remaining eye." I'll ask tomorrow to be sure.

More on the article:
Only 13 percent of cancer survivors described their health as "excellent," compared to 21.9 percent of non-patients, although a similar percentage described their health as "good" -- 33 percent of cancer survivors and 29 percent of non-patients.

"Survivors were more likely to have spent 10 or more days in bed in the past 12 months than control subjects (14 percent versus 7.7 percent)," the researchers wrote.

"Cancer survivors were also more likely than control subjects to report limitations with arthritis or rheumatism, back or neck problems, fractures or bone or joint injuries, hypertension, or lung or breath problems than control subjects," they added.
My health rocks - probably the top of the top if I were included in this study. I wonder if some of this is attributable to the age of cancer survivors in general being higher than that of the general population and if that's taken into account - doesn't state.


Posted by hln at September 1, 2004 06:51 PM | Health | TrackBack

I never trust medical surveys - the sample groups are always so SMALL. Plus, the members aren't selected at random (which is an essential aspect for the reliability of statistics), so these things need to be taken with a bag of salt.

Posted by: Harvey at September 2, 2004 07:08 AM