• This is about the “Survivor “ question. Why are ppl usually told the 5 year Mark is the “ survivor title comes important??? I was told th

    Asked by Ally113 on Sunday, January 13, 2019

    This is about the “Survivor “ question. Why are ppl usually told the 5 year Mark is the “ survivor title comes important??? I was told th

    That MANY times?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Mostly because of statistics. If you make it out to the five year mark your chances of recurrence are less. Not that it won't come back, but the statistics show that each year out you get, the less likely it is that it will come back. But.....I was 18 years out from my 2nd diagnosis, and I had a 3rd diagnosis. Not a recurrence, but a new diagnosis for a different type of cancer.

      As for the technical definition of a survivor, we are all survivors. We are a survivor from the moment of diagnosis until you die. That is the definition of a survivor.

      9 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy (Best Answer!)

      I was grasping at the brass ring (4.5 years in full response) when the second relapse arrived. I agree with Greg - it is mostly a statistical figure with no relevance to individual cases. But, physicians live in the statistical realm, which is both good and bad. If they switch back and forth from using stats to determine treatment versus encouraging their patients at the individual level, that is good. But, we are not numbers!

      In truth, all of this focus on a future which honestly may never arrive is a bit of a red herring. We can become so obsessed with that magic 5-year mark that we lose sight of the here and now, the "today" that we exist in. The old saw about "eat, drink and be merry" has a certain application to our lives inasmuch as we are intended to enjoy each and every day of life - not just the imaginary future.

      I truth, today IS that future.

      9 months ago
    • Ritasuzi's Avatar
      Ritasuzi

      We are obsessed with the five year mark. Early detection. Early stage. But we’re not made aware of the 30% that develops MBC. That can happen many years down the road.

      9 months ago
    • Teachergirl's Avatar
      Teachergirl

      I have often thought it was a positive to keep us looking forward. Triple negative breast cancer, I was told, has a significant decreased chance of re-occurrence after the 5 year mark.

      9 months ago
    • dmarussell's Avatar
      dmarussell

      I agree with the prior statements of this "survivor" title. Many are already giving me that title though and I just had my last radiation treatment last Friday. I don't quite feel that title yet as I begin Tamoxifin in two weeks, to be continued for at least ten years. I have follow ups in Feb. and recognize the possibility of recurrence or metastasis. However, I also agree that each day we're here we are surviving, whether cleared (NED) or in treatment. I'll just appreciate every day alive!

      9 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar
      fiddler

      Ally 113: The problem with statistics is that the result/conclusion is based on a sample population. Now, if they gathered information about EVERYONE who has/had cancer, then the statement would be relevant and meaningful.

      Teachergirl: "chances of recurrence with TNBC decrease every year, chances of recurrence with other types of BC increase". Again, it's the stats game.

      However, TNBC is a rare recurrence in the same breast - it usually comes back in the liver, lungs and brain, so my question is (if I choose to ask it) 'is that part of the equation'.

      9 months ago
    • Sunshine777's Avatar
      Sunshine777

      When I reached my 5-year point, one of my doctors said, "The chance of you getting cancer again is the same as the general population." Those are comforting words to me!

      9 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      My team never mentioned the five year mark to me. Although I haven't had a recurrence of breast cancer, I was diagnosed eleven years later with a second type of cancer.

      It ain't over till the fat lady sings. . . . .

      9 months ago
    • Whitey61's Avatar
      Whitey61

      From Diagnosis to Death you are a Survivor.

      9 months ago
    • mytoby's Avatar
      mytoby

      What about being sore and hurting after surgery? and the fear that the cancer is still inside of your body? do you ever loose that fear? isn't the 5 year mark just a number? cancer can strike at any time, before the 5 years or after? is it just to give us something to look forward to? to stay positive and not think about it? how do you ever forget, when you have the constant pain, and numbness there after surgery, that is a constant reminder of what was done to your body? I feel like I am less than and don't know how to begin again, how to start to take pride in what I look like, when my chest and side where the drains were in is constantly hurting. how do you go on and not feel overwhelmed with what has been done to you? I thought it would be a "piece of cake" like some say, but was I wrong, it has been a few months of depression, fear, soreness and tightness and numbness, and not knowing what to wear over my camisole to try to look "normal" again. any suggestions or thoughts?

      9 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      mytoby, I've been wondering how you are feeling. Have you shared ALL those feelings with your doctor(s) so they can help you with medicine, counseling, and a support group?

      If your oncologist hasn't responded to your depressed and fearful feelings, call your Primary Care Physician about your depression. Best wishes.

      9 months ago
    • Ally113's Avatar
      Ally113

      Greg, None of these are NEW answers posted today as you always state in an email to me. I would like for you to STOP doing that!! Unless it ACTUALLY NEw stop sending the same message over and over. Thank You , Ally113

      9 months ago
    • mytoby's Avatar
      mytoby

      Hi: Barbara, I tried to tell them, they brush me off and don't act like they really care. I am sad at the lack of concern I am getting. They tell me it can take 6 months to feel better, and that I had major surgery and it will take time. So much for that, in other words 'get over it', and move on. They really don't care, that is what I am getting the feeling, I'm older and they don't get it.

      9 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      @Ally113, I have no idea what you are referring to, "I" don't send answers or messages to anyone. The system here at whatnext will notify you if someone has posted a question or comment on a topic that is about your diagnosis, or on a post that you have participated in or liked. If we can help you understand the site further, let me know, we are always happy to help.

      9 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Mytoby, the pain is one thing, but what about the anxious feelings and the depression questions you've been asking us, that you put in the post above?

      You need to point blank ask for a referral to a counselor and info on support groups to talk to about your anxiety and depression. If you are in a large medical center, they should have social workers and counselors nearby.

      If your oncologist doesn't want to address your anxiety and depression questions, you should contact your Primary Care Physician and discuss your feelings with him or her. It's not unusual to need an anti-depressant if you're taking medicine to deplete your estrogen.

      I'm sorry you're still having pain and the complications of the lymphedema. Hoping you start feeling better soon, especially in time for Springtime weather! Best wishes.

      8 months ago
    • mytoby's Avatar
      mytoby

      Thank you Barbara, I spoke to a nurse practitioner, she said she would tell my nurse practitioner, who did not say anything to me when I saw her. I am going to an OT for lymphedema and for scar tissue building up, that is the most painful for me now, I feel worse now than I did a couple of months ago. I had no idea about the scar tissue build up and that it would hurt like it does. I feel like someone has punched me in the chest when I touch my chest. Have you experienced that? or have anyone of you had that happen? any suggestions? I bought some Palmer's cocoa cream and rub on it, and it does seem to help a little. The OT said for me to massage it when I can during the week and to raise my arm up as far as I can to exercise it, and gave me a pully to use to put over the door, and pull the rope from side to side to help with stretching my arm. Also, the numbness and hurting under my arm is still there and bothers me some days as the day goes on and I am moving around, maybe I have not meant to, but have used my arm too much. Also, she said don't lift anything too heavy with that arm, nothing over 2-3 pounds, that is hard to do, to remember when you are carrying groceries or things, as I always use my right arm more than my left. I am not planning on going in a hot tub or sauna, but I have heard that is something you should not do. Is that true? So many things to think about after the fact. How would I know if there is any cancer there still if my blood work comes back in the normal range, but my chest still hurts so much? could it be there, but not showing in the blood work? what other tests can they do to check to see if there is any cancer in your blood or lymphatic system? ex-rays? maybe a chest ex-ray? I wonder if that would show anything. Wish I knew a good nurse or someone in oncology to ask some of these things. Thanks for listening, it helps to write this down. God bless you all.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Mytoby, I'm sorry, I had a lumpectomy, so can't advise you on the medical questions. You shouldn't have to "wish for a good nurse" to ask your questions----you already have your Oncologist and his nurses to ask questions of. It's their office's responsibility to answer your questions related to your cancer, so ask them until you get an answer. If it's a hectic office, they probably just forgot to call you back before.

      Make a list of questions before you call. Also ask for a referral to a counselor for depression/anxiety and a support group for information.

      I don't know about mastectomy patients, but other breast cancer patients are monitored by mammograms and chest X-rays at regular intervals.

      Best wishes for feeling better after your questions are answered, and your depression/anxiety is addressed. Call them today and you'll feel better fast!

      Happy Valentine's Day! Take your husband to lunch!

      8 months ago
    • petieagnor's Avatar
      petieagnor

      @Ritasuzi, that is what happened to me. My oncologist never mentioned anything about MBC. I took my little pill for 5 years. At 10 years exactly, I got MBC in my lung. Very, very small, but I still have to keep it from spreading. At 8 years, I gave away all of my hats & scarves. I just had to make more. I'm not donating any of these. In 3 years I've lost my hair twice.

      7 months ago

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