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what date to use for survival time

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Everyone,

I asked about the date from my onco for counting the years and found out that it is NOT AGREED ON as to whether to count from the day of diagnosis or the day we ended our chemotherapy.

what does anyone else know about this - there isn't anything on the internet, as far as I could find.

Thanks, Jean

cat1switzerland
Posts: 119
Joined: May 2001

Hi Jean,

To me it makes sense that the start date is the date we were diagnosed. After all, some people may choose to NOT undergo treatment and they can still be called cancer survivors. To illustrate my point, I met a lady a few months ago who chose to not have any chemo nor operation after being diagnosed with brain cancer. She is a believer in holistic medicines, believes in God, and she is still alive 5 years later. A miracle... To me there is no doubt she is a 5-year cancer survivor.

Besides, that point of view reflects our mental attitude : from the day I was diagnosed, I looked at life differently. That was to me a start point, not the day I finished my treatments. The term "born again" could be close to what I experienced, a new appreciation for life. It seems several others experienced similar feelings according to what we have been sharing on CSN.

I'd be interested in reading other points of view.

Have a nice day everyone !
Cathy

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Jean:

My medical oncologist said that she calculates "survivorship" from the time one actually completes all treatments.

According to her explanation, medical professionals, particularly those conducting
"trials",etc., use the same date as it is considered the time point from which one
actually survived all treatment and was considered to have no sign of cancer.

Out of curiosity, I asked what it is considered when one may complete the original surgery, chemo, radiation, etc., yet have it not be successful and experience a recurrence, mets or perhaps the cancer continues to grow during treatment and she said that in such cases, one is considered to be "in active treatment", not cancer free, and statistically, one is said to be a survivor after 5 years, cancer free.

Like Cathy, I count from my diagnosis date,
which is the REAL moment in time when we must
begin coping with the reality of having
cancer, getting ourselves educated and making treatment decisions. In my opinion, all these efforts and the emotional turmoil we experience while coping, are the traits of a survivor. It brings many of us new skills, attitudes and character traits which perhaps we didn't have before. We begin the fight of our lives and in so doing, many of us give birth to a new "self" while on the front lines. A new self we'll continue to nurture and a new self that will grow into the best we can be.

Whatever the professional's consider me, I consider myself a 9 month survivor on a mission! Only time will tell how long I may
live in years but my personal sense of "living" is experienced and embraced in each day and each moment with the joy and
satisfaction that any 9 month old could share. Uncomplicated (as much as I can un
complicate it) and not wasting today worrying
about tomorrow too much. I think all doctor's should give a prescription to every
patient which reads: Take good care of yourself (emotionally, physically and spriitually), love, be loved and live in the moment. What else do we need? Surviving and surviving well are not necessarily synonymous. May we all survive well!!!

Love, light and laughter,
Inkblot

jmears
Posts: 270
Joined: Jul 2001

I have this same question. My Oncologist ... who I really like ... doesn't have a standard date. He won't even come out and say I am cancer free ... expect to say I have no signs of cancer from the tests. My surgeon for my lumpectomy was the same way ... he got all the cancer he was aware of. I decided to use my surgery date as my starting survivor date because that was the day the tumor was removed. After lumpectomy I had 6 months of chemo and 7 weeks of radiation but I look at that as part of my recovery and prevention ... but I was free of the cancer and I had survivied it. I had the lumpectomy on November 1st. I'll give myself one year suvivorship!!! Good discussion. Thanks
Jamie

mawmawmurphy
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi Jean,

My husband and I use the surgery date for my survivorship. It was at that moment in time that the cancer was out of my body. And TODAY is the day. One year ago we were at the hospital. He just called me a few minutes ago while I was reading your email and congratulated me on my Lumpectomy Day. My doctor hasn't told me of anything specific that they use. I just figured the day that it was taken out was just as good as any. Good luck.

Keep smiling, Marion

cat1switzerland
Posts: 119
Joined: May 2001

Happy anniversary Marion ! It does feel good, doesn't it ?

Big hugs,
Cathy

mrsbe
Posts: 58
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi there Jean,
My doc uses the last day of treatment as being the marker and it also specifies this in the New England Journal of Medicine.
My One year marker is next week. Sooooo lets party!!!!!!!=)

Belinda

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Congrats Belinda! Keep on dancin'!!!

Love, light and laughter,
Inkblot

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Thanks to all for your responses. With a diagnosis in December 2000, I sorta had that date in mind - now I'll start counting from September 24,2001 - my last day of radiation.

Good Luck to all of us survivors here on the network.

Jean

cat1switzerland
Posts: 119
Joined: May 2001

Hi again everyone,

I think I know understand why most doctors start counting from the day we finish our treatments : heck, if we survive the junk they put in our systems, then only can we truly be called survivors ! (LOL)

Sorry for the bad joke, it is another proof that chemo left permanent damage to my brain...

Big hugs to all,
Cathy

shirlann
Posts: 235
Joined: Oct 2001

Hmmm, I always use the date I was diagnosed as the "anniversary" of how long ago it was. It seems to me that makes sense. When you were diagnosed is really the start of the whole thing and so your "so far, so good" starts then? I think, Love, Shirlann

debw
Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2000

I count from the day I was born. :)Debw

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