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Charting the Path to Treatment

The path to a treatment decision can be long and winding, with numerous forks in the road. There are a number of factors, like cancer type, stage, overall health, and genetics, that go into choosing treatment. Of those who took our Impact of Cancer survey, over one third were initially diagnosed with advanced stage cancer while one fourth are currently advanced stage. When it came to the types of treatment people chose, surgery (63%) and chemotherapy (56%) were the most common, followed by active surveillance (47%), radiation therapy (42%), immunotherapy (20%), and hormone therapy (18%).

Shared experiences matter

Despite the differences in cancer diagnosis, people shared some common treatment experiences. Those who had chemotherapy tended to be happiest with their treatment decision, whereas those who underwent surgery sometimes tell a different story. They were most likely to regret their treatment decision, frequently saying they did not know the full effect surgery would have on their daily life and felt they did not have all the necessary information when making this decision.

We want to hear from you – share your treatment experience in the comments.

The Impact of Cancer survey was conducted online from July through August of 2018. Of the 1,625 people who completed the survey, 1,517 were people diagnosed with a form of cancer and 108 were caregivers


  • pamallen
    1 year ago

    I’m just completely DISGUSTED. Honestly I’ve lost TRUST abd FAITH in any doctors anymore. I’m tired, DAMB sick and tired of telling them from the beginning I wanted NO treatments of any kind. My PCP said most probably had lung cancer, an Oncologist Thoriac Surgeon said even with a biopsy I had InOperable Lung cancer, because of 2 failed attempts with lung function tests, so they referred me to an Oncologist Radiologist, who after yet another damn CT scan, even though I had already had a PET scan not quite a month previously, confirming the same basic info the Thoriac Throat Surgeon said, I still refused treatment and again asked for Pallatitive Care, well then it’s been a 3 month ReScan situation. An Oncologist Hemotologist doc at another location jumped on me one day asking me WHY are you so quick asking for Pallative Care, because a biopsy was never done. I’m just totally sick and disgusted the way my former doctor at this same Medical Institution let me go for a whole friggin Year WITHOUT sending me to a Qualified Oncologist to begin with. All the Years, CT scans, and lastly the most Xpensive scan of them all were done on me during an emergency room visit, which led to 2.5 Day admission to the Hospital, she had told me ALL those test showed NOTHING. I continued going to this complaining of pain, everytime she would reccommend Physical Therapy. I stormed out of her office in Nov. of 2017 and vowed I’d die before I’d go back to her. I was SO fortunate to find a NEW, Physician’s Assistant that started the ball rolling quickly on my medical problems. By April I got my Cancer diagnosis. According to my Oncologist Radiologist, he had pulled up my CT SCAN in his computer screen and showed me the size in April of 2017 and the size it was then back in April 2018. I told him how my doctor had specifically told me NOTHING was found and he told me the Scans don’t lie. So I’m sorry if I sound bitter. In 2017 I was having NO WHERE near the pain I’ve had since July of 2018. I would’ve maybe had a better chance of surgery in 2017. How can a doctor be that Unreliable. I know they’re only human and not God, but why after I continued to complain didn’t she at least refer me to an Oncologist. She sure wanted me in Physical Therapy for back pain, severely for 3 months. It finally did get a little better after being on some mild muscle relaxants, then severe muscle cramps in my legs, arm, neck, shoulder pain, headaches. Sorry I’ve gone on and on, but I just need someone to listen to me, I NEVER EVER thought even with this Opoid crisis, that even if you’re suffering from Cancer, the doctor’s will give you NOTHING now, Now they want to prescribe and get their patients on Psychotic/Depression/ Anxiety drugs because studies have shown they have helped other people in chronic pain. I don’t want nothing or need anything for the lack of Serotonin levels in my brain. Shouldn’t they start testing their patients for this Vaulable brain chemistry that a normal brain has before they just start prescribing psychotic drugs. Where, Where, IS THERE ANYONE who can help me?
    This is ALL I KNOW: U have cancer in both lungs, they were diagnosed as slow growing since April of 2018. The cancer in the right lung was larger and they were most concerned about that one. The cancer in my left lung was smaller. I was told they could do treatments in both lungs at the same time. Only 5 radiation treatments would be needed. WELL, I thought, Hey, it wasn’t that big a deal if they were just gonna give me 5 treatments, Plust I’d already had it for a whole year and 4 mths., so I told them I was refusing radiation treatment. So they asked me if I’d be willing to do a ReScan on 3 mths. I told them I would. Well in Aug., My Checkup scan showed the cancers in both lungs had become larger. The right lung was still the larger if the two. They gave me an 80/20 percent cure survival rate just to do 5 tad. Treatments. I agreed to it. God I wish I truly never did. Now I don’t know whether most my pain is coming from my Lung cancer or side effects of the radiation treatment. Every since the first of Oct., I’ve been miserable, feeling worse every month. I had my checkup scan in Dec. The radiation only shrunk the cancer in the right lung. I mean that’s good news YET, it didn’t kill it. Meanwhile the cancer in the left lung has grown significantly and it was pretty aggressive, plus newer abnormalities are showing up but they said they would consult with a radiologist on thiswhat the HEY, I thought that’s what these doctors are?? They wanted to give the right lung more time to heal, and start ASAP treatment in the left. Anyways I told them NO, NO, more. So I agreed to another 3 mth checkup Scan in March. I’ve got enough common sense to know by now, it’s not going to be curable, only treatable until they can’t treat it anymore. I need someone to help, to talk to that is going to be able to help me like Pallative Care, then later on, Hospice but I was told I need a doctor’s refferal for all this. I could never get a doctor to refer me to Pallatitive care. I just want to know when I start getting really bad and God only knows where this lung cancer is going to spread, that I can find some comfort and peace. That’s all I ask. I have NO one, especially Family, and my own husband he has health problems, also, but this week I laid in bed and slept two days into the night, only getting up to use the bathroom. Nothing to drink or eat, He never comes in my bedroom and checks on me. Well I finally got up late We’d. Afternoon and was so tired, weak, that I needed help getting back to bed. Luckily my son was off from work that day. I hollered 4xs for someone to come and help me off the commode back to my bed, my husband just kept sitting on the couch, watching TV and told my son, Go help your Mom. I mean I only weigh 99 lbs, for gosh sakes, I wasn’t expecting him to carry me. My husband claims to have severe neurotic pain in his legs. I’m not doubting him, yet he gets up from his bed, goes straight to the couch and watches TV all day, Yet he always feels OK to go to the bar about a mile from our house, 7 days a week. Sometimes twice a day. Both his doctors have told him that he needs to get up and walk more. But he refuses to do it. So I NEED TO PREPARE FOR SOME HELP ie ASSISTANCE. I only have Medicare.

  • Trudyandme
    1 year ago

    I made the decision to have surgery. Right upper lobe removed. Biggest mistake of my life. Since the surgery in June of 2015, I’ve had four rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of chemo with radiation, ending in May 2016. Last chemo treatment was so toxic almost died. Today I have a constant fight with maintaining activity. Radiation treatments have made degenerative disc problems even worse, so walking is so painful I have to rely on a walker to get around. Breathing is not something that comes easy any more. My once very active life is now close to being non-existent. Loss of job due to not being able to keep up, which has created financial crisis. I often wonder if I had just had chemo and radiation if things would have been much better. I was not given all the information that was needed to make the decision about surgery. It was presented as a cure all which would totally take away the cancer and I’d be good as normal after. No word about long term side effects.

  • PeteConaty
    1 year ago

    Feel so bad about what your going thru. As the story is saying we are all different, with the cancer, treatment, and outcomes. Myself, I had my upper left removed. A year and a half later a peace of my brain. Each time I thought the doctors Got it all. Three days after I shot blood clots, oh I forgot the day before I was to go home after the lung operation. What was left of my left lung desided to twist in my chest cavity. Medical coma for a week. I never asked the doctors what the hell is going on with me. But when the cancer came back six months after the brain op. I did ask big time. I’ve been radiated three times. Now five years later, it’s cemo time. No cure but hopefully, they can control the cancer. I have learned to live with the cards dealt to me. And no I’m not happy. But I live! And with my second grandchild just born I’ll try to live as long as I can.

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