CSN Login
Members Online: 7

You are here

Coronavirus/COVID-19

What cancer patients, their families, and caregivers need to know about COVID-19.

Statistics what it means to me

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

I know a lot of you through this web site and have learned a lot. I keep hearing about statistics and finally wrote what they mean to me. I gave a copy to my oncologist today and I think he will use it for some of his patients that are stuck on statistics what he tells people are you are you, the statistic does not apply. He will tell them there chances are a lot better with treatment. Below is the statement. Copy it; save it most of all remember it. They do not mean diddly squat. You can stick your own filters in place of mine. I had a lot more I could have added, but this is sufficient. I had to take out all the hyphenated words this web site does a job on punctuation.

Ernie
Statistics what it means to me

Definitions:

1. (used with a singular verb ) the science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation of numerical facts or data, and that, by use of mathematical theories of probability, imposes order and regularity on aggregates of more or less disparate elements

2. The subject of statistics can be divided into descriptive
statistics - describing data, and analytical statistics -
drawing conclusions from data.

When it comes to cancer the data that you read about is based on fact of what has actually happened over a period of time. It is history. To take that data and project it into the future is drawing conclusions.

Let us take a hypothetical example and some hypothetical conditions.

A particular cancer has a statistic of a five year survival of 5%. This is based on fact of what has happened in the past. That means that at the end of five years out of 100 people there was a survival of five. One in 20. Does that mean my chance of survival is one out of 20? The answer is no. There is a statement made in a lot of stock offerings that states: Past performance does not guarantee future profits. Past performance of cancer patients will not necessarily be the same for patients today. We can not change the statistical past, but I believe we can change the chance of survival. Three of the things that I believe effect your chance of survival is:

1. The type of condition of your cancer, type of cell etc. and there reaction to treatment. We can not change this fact.

2. The treatment that the medical profession administers. This is definitely a variable.

2. What we do and believe as a patient. This we have complete control of.

Now let us take those 100 patients and narrow down the field.

1. How many patients continue to smoke? Say 2 that leaves 98.

2, How many patients do not believe the prognosis, and believe that they can beat the cancer. Let us say 48 do not that leaves 50.

3. How many are in good health physically? Maybe half of the 48, that leaves 24.

4. How many watch their diet and eat healthy. Say 14.

5. How many of the 14 exercise at least 6 times a week with the idea of improving their body and health? Maybe 4.

So now we are down to 4 people in a field that I would be in. The question is what the statistics are for these four people. The answer is they do not know because they have not done this study to my knowledge. The survival could be anything from 0% to 100%.

If I add to this how many took Tarceva along with Carboplatin and Taxol. You come up with zero for the number of people in a category like me. So there are no statistics that apply to a patient like me.

A big plus

How many believe that God has the power to heal them? I do not have the answer to this but for me it means a lot.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Hooray for Ernie!

(CLAP CLAP CLAP)

Statistics be damned! :-)

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

You tell 'em, Ernie!
My sentiments, - exactly.
The other Ernie

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

First, I don't think God should be in the equation as many people are atheists, including myself. Cancer is a biological disease which science (i.e., medical science) has to tackle. If not for science, then what is one's chance of survival without it? I sure wouldn't take that chance. Yes, some people don't respond to conventional medical treatments but that may be because of a variance of factors including genetics, treatment decisions and simply patients still smoking. Faith healing ain't gonna cut it though.

HOWEVER, one's attitude does matter since it is our bodies that are empowered with our own immune system to repair itself and fight off diseases. As such, the brain is a powerful organ to optimize the function of our bodies. If one shuts down mentally, the rest of the body follows. So, I am a believer in having a positive attitude. But I wouldn't rely on that alone for a cure.

Having said all that, I boil down statistics to the fact it is a snapshot of the past. That alone makes its predicative accuracy less than 100%. Simple logic.

The problem with health stats is the mix of the components. Most lung cancers involve smokers or former smokers. If one has never smoked, then the overwhelming stats based on smokers cannot be easily applied to non-smokers. It is impossible to standardize the subjects such that a statistic can be accurate for everyone.

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

Kaitek,
You said that you thought God should not be in the equation. Well if you read it again God is not in the equation. God was mentioned after the equation had got to zero, and it was my belief that helped me. Lance Armstrong had very strong beliefs, but as far as I can see they were not in God, and he did very well. Some believe in other things that keep them positive all I was saying was what works for me and it was not in the equation, for the very reason you stated. I ask that each person put their own filters in to narrow the number down. You did that very nicely in your last paragraph when you mentioned smokers. If you are a non smoker you probably cut down the 100 to about 20 right there. That proves it works.

As for Faith Healing, I would not take the chance on that myself, but as I read what I have written over I can not see where I mentioned Faith Healing. A belief in God and Faith Healing are two different things. My own belief is that God works through modern science, doctors and drug companies to help cure disease. This was not meant to offend anyone and I am sorry if it offended you. I purposely put God at the end, out of the equation. The whole point was so that cancer patients do not get all stressed out over statistics that really do not apply to them. You did state that a positive attitude was important so one should use whatever it takes to have that positive attitude. For some it may be themselves, or Nature, or science, or yoga, whatever it takes. For me it happens to be God.

I read a lot of your postings. I hope this clears this up a little for you. Keep posting

Ernie

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Ernie,

Thank you for clarifying your position. Actually, it was clear to me that you God was important to you and not necessarily a factor for others - namely me and Karen3Lee (who also isn't religious at all). I shot the gun more to express my position that faith isn't relevant. It is the work of doctors and science in researching cancer that primarily heal people. I certainly wouldn't go to church to cure any serious disease.

I apologize if my message had any argumentative tone in it. I feel strongly on the opposite end of religion as you are on your faith. That's all.

I think it is important that people put faith in their doctors and their bodies' own ability to heal in concert with drugs, chemo and/or radiation than this idea that someone has a determination as to who would survive or not. There are many people with a strong faith in God who don't make it. Was he punishing them? Did he have other plans for them that aren't on Earth? I don't like the implication. To be sure, I'm not saying you are implying that. I want to impress upon others to fight with all their might without some external being with a grand plan for them, which may or may not include surviving.

I have more belief that diet and exercise can contribute a positive outcome for survival. But can people recover without doing either. Of course.

Recovery is recovery. I wish that for all regardless of any faith or lack thereof.

Again, I hope you don't take my response as argumentative. I do appreciate what you bring to this site with your testimony of survival and your regiment to enhance that result with your diet and exercise.

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

Thanks for the info on turmeric. I added one half teaspoon to my bean soup, about one cup of soup. It tasted pretty good. I also added Tabasco and Cayenne. Next time I will try it with just the turmeric. I think you can sort of use it as a condiment. That is what I am going to try.

Here is a list of some other foods and things that I eat. You can check them out; maybe they would help your mom. I eat the same breakfast every day. I think of it as the right fuel for me to get started. A bowl of steal cut oatmeal. One fourth cup dry, one pint of blueberries, one heaping teaspoon cinnamon, one tablespoon of flax seed ground up, and a cup of soy milk. When the blueberries are sweet I do not need any sweetener, other times I use a little Stevia. Other every day items are : one to two ounces of Noni juice, four to five ounces of Pomegranate juice, and now thanks to you one half teaspoon Turmeric.

I have copied a list of my supplements below with the purported uses. The ones with an asterisk is info from the Sloan Kettering web site. Sometimes this does not copy too well on this web site. It wipes out my nicely laid out chart by taking out all the spaces. I stuck a comma between the item and the use maybe that will help. If it does not come out right I will e-mail it. I will e-mail you some other things that I know will interest you. Check out the AHCC. I have some interesting experiences with it. I do not believe I have heard you mention it. The Sloan Kettering has lots of links to test on a lot of these things.
Ernie

Daily Supplements and Meds

Supplement/ Med PURPORTED USES

One hour before Breakfast
Tarceva 100mg, Cancer Rx medication
AHCC 2 grams, Cancer prevention and treatment *
Chemotherapy side effects *

After exercise
L-Glutamine 5g, Cancer-related cachexia *

Breakfast
Citrucel 4, Regularity
Centrum Silver 1, Multi Vitamin
Calcium Citrate 250mg, Cancer prevention *
Cardio-Edge 2 Cholesterol control
Policosanol 1, Cholesterol control
CoQ10 100mg, Cancer prevention and Chemo side effects *
Garlic 320mg, Cancer prevention and Cancer treatment *
Zinc 50mg, Cancer prevention *
Green Tea Extract 500mg, Cancer prevention and Cancer treatment *
Grape Seed Extract ActVin 100mg, Cancer prevention *
Vitamin B-6 500mg, Immunostimulation *

Between Meals
AHCC 2 grams, Cancer prevention and treatment *
Astragalus Supreme 2 caps, Chemotherapy side effects, Immunostimulation *

Lunch
L-Glutamine 5g, Cancer-related cachexia *

Between Meals
AHCC 2 grams, Cancer prevention and treatment *
Astragalus Supreme 2 caps, Chemotherapy side effects, Immunostimulation *

Dinner
Citrucel, 4 Regularity
Calcium Citrate 250mg, Cancer prevention *
Cardio-Edge 2, Cholesterol control
Policosanol 1, Cholesterol control
CoQ10 100mg, Cancer prevention and Chemo side effects *

30 min Prior to Bed
Melatonin 20mg, Cancer treatment, Chemotherapy side effects *
L-Glutamine 5g, Cancer-related cachexia *
Taken from Sloan Ketterings Herb web site:

http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/11571.cfm?tab=HC#A

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Thank you Ernie for a detailed listing of your diet regiment. As I've mentioned before, I don't think I can even replicate what you do. I have enough to keep up with the fairly simple routine I've settled on.

My mother is still on chemo now, so I'm confident it's doing its job. There's no trace of it by physical symptoms. The supplements are minimal. I'll consider adding turmeric. Even though I read that green tea was downgraded, I will still drink it because I like it with my meals.

I'm curious as to how long you will be on maintenance on Tarceva. Maybe I'll add a new topic about remission. Hope you will reply there.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

I feel compelled to weigh in here, even though I am reluctant to do so.

Although I do not feel that a cancer board is the proper place to debate religious beliefs, I want to say this:

You say "faith is not relevant". As you said, that's your opinion. But to a great number of us here, faith is VERY relevant, and we choose NOT to rely solely on doctors and science, both of which have been proven to be fallible.

To people like us, facing a cancer diagnosis without religious faith would be impossible.

Everyone here is entitled to his/her opinion, secular or not, but no one should be called out for referring to his/her faith (or lack thereof).

This is NOT meant to provoke more discussion or argument; rather to end it.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

I'm not here to control what people say or not. Ernie asked a question, "How many believe that God has the power to heal them?" He gave his answer. I stepped in to offer another point of view. I wasn't calling him or anybody out despite my lack of faith. Because people have different beliefs, I tend to believe it would be more respectful of those different beliefs if we keep our faith personal. This isn't a religion board. It is cancer.

If religion helps you get through cancer, more power to you. When pressed I think a positive attitude helps one cope with cancer, but it's not going to cure one of cancer. I would bet my money more on an oncologist who knows what he or she is doing and is knowledgeable of all the latest cancer treatments. As research is proving time and time again, it is uncovering the mystery of how cells react. Certainly because no two person are genetically the same or have the same cancerous cells, they aren't going to respond uniformly to the treatments out there. With cell testing, the chances may be improved. Doctors and science, of course, can do only so much. They don't control the molecular level of each individual's cells or what the patients do in their homes. I take my chances with the doctors and medicine that's for sure.

I would put my faith more on that. I'm not being argumentative, but expressing my opinion on a board that I would think is secular and open to all people of any faiths or lack thereof. No one should feel his or her fate is pinned on someone else's idea of a God. If you or anyone else put your faith in God for you or your loved one's recovery, I'm not infringing on that. One's faith is personal. Many people survive or never get cancer to begin with when they don't believe in God. Majority of Asians are atheists and are among the healthiest in the world and this country.

I believe this board has room for all people with our common bond of surviving cancer. That's what I signed up for.

debbiec
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2007

This is how your message will look:

To: ernrol
Subject: your treatment
Message: I read your posting when my father was diagnosed with stage III b non-small lung cancer and it has given me and my family hope. Dad too has a strong faith and we all (my whole family) believe in the power of prayer. Dad as had one round of chemo...and he is getting the same chemo carboplatin and taxol. I had read your story right after dad was diagnosed with cancer on April 16. So
to me it lookes like his cancer might be similar
except he has two different types...one is the adenocarcenoma... Anyway I was wondering if your doctor approved your regiment and or did he prescribe it...did he think anything you were doing
like the green tea...vitamin etc would react with your chemo...I wanted dad to to follow what you did
and wanted him to talk to his team (of which he has alot of faith in...he's going to the doctors at
Winston-Salem...my parents live in Virginia and they drive there weekly for blood work and to meet
with the doctor) His doctor told him that he didn't want him to do anything that might hamper the chemo...I wanted them to give him the tarceva and I had read about Essic tea (do you know anything about that?) well I know I am looking for something...hope...etc...he went to the doctor today and had a cat scan...the tumor has shrunk some but not enough for radiation...the lymph nodes are still swollen so they think the amount of radiation would be to much...so they are proposing 6 more doses of chemo...and then wait...all of which I don't like but I would love for them to reavaluate after thee more doses...and hope that they will give him the tarceva...anyway I would appreciate any information you can give me...and would also appreciate you putting him in your prayers as you know what we are all going through...my greatest hope is that I hope it is the will of God to heal him as he has healed you. God Bless you and your family. Thanks...debbie

Subscribe to Comments for "Statistics what it means to me"