Chances of Cancer Recovery

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I need some help understanding some medical jargon. My grandpa was pretty recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The doctor’s caught his cancer at Stage II, which my parents were trying to explain to me in terms that I could understand. However, I still don’t really get it, and everything online seems pretty uncertain. That’s why I need help from someone more knowledgeable on the subject.


What are the chances of survival for someone age sixty-seven who’s been diagnosed with Stage II Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma? Should I be worried about him and his recovery?


A cancer diagnosis is no trivial matter, regardless of how optimistic it might be. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that almost 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Most people find those figures startling, and the trend only continues to rise. That means it will only become more common for people to either know someone struggling with cancer, or be struggling with it themselves. This isn’t meant to frighten you, however. It’s is intended to reveal the fact that you and your family aren’t alone.


Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for anyone, aside from your grandpa’s attending physicians, to forecast his chances of survival. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t cultivate a stronger understanding of the disease. The more you know, the more empowered you feel. Consider taking some time to explore and understand what cancer is. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that cancers behave and react to treatments the same way.


Experts at the Mayo Clinic clearly explain how you should interpret cancer survival rates. They describe how survival rates are presented as percentages across a five-year timespan. They also highlight the relationship between a specific survival rate and the patient’s initial diagnosis. In other words, someone diagnosed with metastasized Stage IV lung cancer is far less likely to survive than someone diagnosed with Stage I prostate cancer. Those individuals fortunate enough to discover malignant cancers early are often the ones that walk away relatively unscathed. However, that doesn’t mean the disease won’t recur later.


The American Cancer Society (ACS) has already published significant literature covering Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. You’ll discover, for instance, that aside from early diagnosis, there are other factors that can influence long-term patient recovery. One obvious factor is the quality of specialized cancer care that patients receive from seasoned practitioners in the field. Though frequently overlooked, underestimated, or taken for granted, the proximity of adequate medical attention is a major variable.


It might be helpful to explore which oncology centers are regularly cited and/or recognized for exceptional service and expertise. Obtaining a second and third opinion is especially important for medical diagnoses. This isn’t to suggest that your grandpa’s attending physicians are incompetent, but rather to emphasize the fact that symptoms and results are open to interpretation. Never underestimate the value of another expert evaluation.


Lastly, remember that worrying about loved ones is perfectly normal and to be expected. Your grandpa could probably use some compassionate words and empathy. You’d be surprised just how much better that can make people feel, despite having no impact on the health recovery itself.


Cancer is only going to be a chapter in your like; not the whole story.” -Joe Wasser