Monday, June 9, 2014

Chronic, Not Cured

Susan Gubar, a cancer patient and outstanding communicator, writes a column in The New York Times, called Living with Cancer.  This week’s column talks about patients who do not fall into the category of cured or terminal. Since most of us neuroendocrine patients fall into the “chronic” category, I thought this was an interesting article.  Some of Ms. Gubar’s thoughts as well as the link to the article follow.

“The word ‘chronic’ resides between the category of cured and the category of terminal. It refers to disease that is not spreading, malignancy that can be arrested but not eradicated.”
“But for some of us, there is a middle stage in this journey. Because of advances in cancer research and the efforts of dedicated oncologists, a large population today deals with disease kept in abeyance. The cancer has returned and has been controlled, but it will never go away completely. Like me, these people cope with cancer that is treatable for some unforeseeable amount of time. Chronic cancer means you will die from it — unless you are first hit by the proverbial bus — but not now, not necessarily soon.”

“Chronic disease may lack the drama of diagnosis and early treatment; even friends can get bored by mounting details. Its evolution does not conform to the feel-good stories of recovery that most of us want to read. But neither does it adhere to the frightfully degenerative plot of quickly advancing tumors.”