“Survivorship is not a passive sport”


Some readers of this blog may get some insights by reading a blogpost on the CancerNetwork web site with the above title.

Dr. Bechhold is writing for her fellow oncologists, and she is someone who spends much of her time treating women with breast cancer, but use your imagination. … Think “blue” when she writes “pink”. Think “paint the garage” when she writes “shop for food”. It’s easy enough to see how the patients she is writing about could be male prostate cancer survivors as opposed to female breast cancer survivors.

Her point is a straightforward one. There are things doctors can do for their patients … but there are a lot of things that patients have to do for themselves. The prostate cancer patient who drinks in the evenings because he sees himself as less sexually functional than he was previously isn’t doing any favors for himself or anyone else. The prostate cancer patient who continues to live on a high-dairy, high-meat diet after starting androgen deprivation therapy isn’t exactly optimizing his chances of good, long-term quality of life. And there is nothing the doctor can do to help his/her patients with this type of behavior except (perhaps) tell the patient this isn’t exactly smart … if it comes to the doctor’s attention at all.

Your sitemaster is not alone in his dislike of the words “survivor” and “survivorship”. If we are alive, we are all surviving after something, and even in the best case scenarios, our survival has an upper boundary somewhere around 115 years of age. But in the context of seeking to optimize quality of life after a diagnosis of — and relevant treatment for — any serious clinical condition, there is an obligation on patients to address, seriously, those things we can do that will help to either prevent a recurrence of the original problem or to prevent deterioration of our health for other reasons.

As Dr. Bechhold so succinctly puts it to her own patients:

There are just things you have to do. Compliance is required for a pill or a lifestyle, and failure to comply will compromise the outcome …

regardless of the number of tests you may be given or ask your doctor to give you.

There are just things you have to do. Compliance is required for a pill or a lifestyle and failure to comply will compromise the outcome. No matter how many tests we or – See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/blog/survivorship-not-passive-sport?GUID=27AE8004-B64D-481B-AA6B-8A5DB42E5C38&rememberme=1&ts=27022014#sthash.bdMVMqBa.dpuf
There are just things you have to do. Compliance is required for a pill or a lifestyle and failure to comply will compromise the outcome. No matter how many tests we order. – See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/blog/survivorship-not-passive-sport?GUID=27AE8004-B64D-481B-AA6B-8A5DB42E5C38&rememberme=1&ts=27022014#sthash.bdMVMqBa.dpuf
There are just things you have to do. Compliance is required for a pill or a lifestyle and failure to comply will compromise the outcome. No matter how many tests we order. – See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/blog/survivorship-not-passive-sport?GUID=27AE8004-B64D-481B-AA6B-8A5DB42E5C38&rememberme=1&ts=27022014#sthash.bdMVMqBa.dpuf
There are just things you have to do. Compliance is required for a pill or a lifestyle and failure to comply will compromise the outcome. No matter how many tests we order. – See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/blog/survivorship-not-passive-sport?GUID=27AE8004-B64D-481B-AA6B-8A5DB42E5C38&rememberme=1&ts=27022014#sthash.bdMVMqBa.dpuf

3 Responses

  1. Add “vigorous” exercise to the list. You do not need to gain weight. You do not need to become weak. Do not give in to this disease. Fight back. … F*** Cancer.

  2. I think the same.

  3. I too dislike terms like “survivorship,” but cannot state clearly why I do . Also terms like “battling” cancer, “f**k* cancer”, etc., etc. disgust me. Something to do, I think, with my not living in America and being quite unimpressed with hype or self-help, positive psychology gung-ho phrases. But I cannot formulate this feeling. Maybe part of it is a bad analogy buried in my philosopher’s mind. It is often just strange, or pretentious, when I say that I survived a cold. So why should I say that I survived cancer? Or battled it? I don’t know, this might be completely misguided, so f**k it, I’m going to sleep.

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