If you have cancer.

If you had cancer.

If you know someone with cancer.

If you want to talk about cancer.

We won't pray.  We won't blame gods.  We won't give credit to gods.  

We face the diagnosis and know, it is what it is.  

To the extent that we can, we will define our own course.

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Latest Activity: Jan 5


Cancer changes lives.

We have to deal with medical profession.

We have to deal with medications.

We have to deal with new discomfort and pain.

We have to create dignity, where there is indignity.

We have to deal with family members, friends, coworkers, and strangers, in a changed way.

We resolve to go forward with strength, resilience, purpose, pride, and integrity.

We define ourselves. Cancer does not define us.

Discussion Forum

Metastasis Visualized

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Daniel W Jun 27, 2016. 3 Replies

This video makes it easier to grasp how metastasis occurs.Continue

Tags: metastasis, cancer spread

Sean Parker to Donate $250,000,000 to Fight Cancer

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Michael Penn Apr 13, 2016. 1 Reply

Billionaire Sean Parker who was the first president of Facebook and a co-founder of Napster will donate $250,000,000 to fund immunotherapy research to fight cancer. This type of therapy fights cancer…Continue

New Hope for Hard-to-Treat Cancers

Started by Qiana-Maieev. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 7, 2016. 2 Replies

Ancient Algae Offer New Hope for Hard-to-Treat CancersPosted: 06 Apr 2016 01:57 PM PDTIn one of the oldest life…Continue

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Comment by Joan Denoo on July 5, 2014 at 12:13am

This is off subject of being the one with cancer, but I want to share it with you. My former husband, a dentist, had the task to reconstruct a jaw in which a woman had lost her lower jaw to cancer. The whole jaw was taken out and skin had to be grafted and ready for the reconstruction of the jaw, which was my husband's task. The team of dentists and surgeons had to develop a strategy that was based on war injuries to the face, a very complex task because of the tongue and creation of a new jaw. During one phase they made a latex flap that went from her upper lip and draped over her lower part of her face so that people couldn't see her back bone going into her skull. It was a terrible sight and I saw the photos they used during the planning phase. 

The lower manufactured jaw, with false lower teeth were surgically installed, and then the skin grafts were drawn up over the device to reconstruct the chin. They had to make different grafts to represent the lower lip. 

The whole procedure took a heavy toll on my husband and the others who were involved with the responsibility. It felt to me as though they were trying to make a natural looking face, could not, and their frustration created great problems for the families of the surgical team. To be more blunt, they were trying to play god, couldn't, and frustration turned into physical abuse in our home. 

Comment by Michael Penn on July 4, 2014 at 9:34am

Dr. Meaden. I just wanted to let you know that when I wrote that they told me the Basil cell did not spread, they meant it doesn't spread to other parts of the body. In the area that it is detected in, it can grow and spread a lot if not treated. Thank you for agreeing with me on my opinion of excision being the best form of treatment. I've only had this one incidence of it so far, and that was over 10 years ago.

I do my own excizing if I can, and some say that is foolish. I take care of warts and moles if possible, smothering warts with castor oil, etc. About 2 years ago I had a hard growth on my back that became black and hard like a marble. No pain, but not normal. I went to the doctor for that one and they burned it off in 15 minutes. Charged my insurance over $800 and we still don't know what that one was? My guess is that it was highway robbery!

Comment by James M. Martin on July 4, 2014 at 9:26am

Or squamous.  I think "rodent ulcer" is cute.

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on July 4, 2014 at 9:15am

Ah James, here in England 'rodent ulcer' is a popular non-medical name in fairly general use---meaning that a supposed ulcer is gnawing away at skin and eventually cartilage. But bcc they all are (when not melanoma). 

Comment by James M. Martin on July 4, 2014 at 9:07am

@Dr. Terrence, nice photo except for the nose patch. I look like that two or three times a year -- last time was on my left hand, where they cut out two squamous cell c's, one on my finger and very difficult to remove due to location. Wondering why you refer to basal cell growths as "rodent ulcers"? I have had them on my nose, twice, on the back of my left ear (once, with surgery that included a skin graft to keep the ear from "cauliflowering" when it healed up), several on my forehead, my chin, other places. My dermatologist confirms your story about untreated bcc's. He told me of a patient who came to see him too late: all of an ear and part of her jaw had to be removed. My surgeon is expert at Moh's, which is a less drastic incision: they take a little sliver with the scalpal and put it under a microscope to see if they got all the tentacles. If not, they have to make another pass. I liked my dermatologist until he got religious and started playing Joel Osteen tapes in the operating room. I am afraid to voice my misgivings about this, because he is the only dermatologist on my health care plan, and he is the only one within 170 miles who does Moh's. People with Caucasian skin really suffer if they failed to take care of themselves properly in earlier life. (I was always getting sunburn and we did not know the consequences at the time.) I am curious about that "rodent ulcer" term, though.

Comment by Daniel W on July 4, 2014 at 8:53am
Trixie, that is awesome news!!! I was worrying for you, thsnk you for the update! You mafe it through this stage - that is a huge step! One day at a time, but also take strength in having your eyes on the prise - a life ahead to see your child grow and learn from you, to know your love and be happy. Getting through each step, tells you, you can do it!!!

Terence, Michael - wear your sunblock and hat outside! Now that you have had those, its a good idea to reduce the risk for more!

Joan, you built your family through your wisdom and nurturing. Now that comes full circle, and they help you. It is a beautiful balance.
Comment by Joan Denoo on July 4, 2014 at 8:30am

Trixie, I know the feeling. Overwhelmed just is not a big enough word for what one experiences after the diagnosis and before the treatments begin.

I had a huge meltdown after my diagnosis and before treatments started. Cancer Care Northwest has an exceptionally insightful therapist for us and in one hour, I had sorted out my fears, hopes, and anger and could carry on with a sense of purpose. This cancer thing is a war going inside your body. Your cells don't care if you are confused or afraid, the cancer cells just grow at their pleasure and the chemo and radiation fight them with all the energy of fighting a colossal battle. Feelings turn into fatigue. I slept away a big chunk of 2013.

Your cancer is far more complex than mine, so I don't know exactly what you experience. My children are grown and they were a great support for me. 

I suspect your husband is overwhelmed as well. He probably feels helpless, and too often, men turn helpless feelings into anger. 

I hope you have a good mental health professional helping you sort all this out. Doctors and nurses can give you data to support their options and help you make decision. However, they do not have the training nor experience to help you with your emotions. 

Just make sure that any therapist is not a believer in superhuman powers. That notion can take you into dead ends that just do not turn out well. 

I have a disabled son, 50 years old and dependent on me, who was one of my biggest worries. He took my diagnosis very badly. Tess, my therapist, even helped find ways to turn that around and he is now one of my strongest team members.

If you can somehow include your husband and son into part of your recovery team, they may not feel so helpless and the myriad of other feelings they have. 

We, here at Cancer, are one your team. We will help in any way virtual friends can. Don't hold back; this is the place to rant. We have strong shoulders and big hearts and care very much that you have the best mental health possible as you face your cancer devils.  

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on July 4, 2014 at 8:12am

Michael, excision is right---and the sooner the better. I have had areas of basal cell cancer (aka bcc 

or rodent ulcers) appearing on my face off and on for some 20 years. The last one was on my nose (see picture, August 2012). If left alone, it can spread and spread, and destroy the whole nose and then the nearest parts of the face. One London hospital has kept the skull of a sufferer from the 19th century who lost a big part of his face this way. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 4, 2014 at 7:36am

Trixie, very good news that no other cells were found. By all means, kick cancer's butt! Go after it with the big effort! Your family team members will do wonders in helping you get through it. Do keep us up to date as your energy allows. 

Comment by Michael Penn on July 4, 2014 at 3:17am

About 10 years ago I had a growth suddenly appear behind my left ear about the size of a walnut. Deciding to treat myself, I waited months before going to the doctor, going there because my treatments did not work. The doctor had disbelief in the growth appearing "suddenly" but I pointed out that you would know personally because you bath and wash your hair every day.

Since this was a big problem cosmeticly, the growth was excized and sent to the lab. It came back as Basil Cell cancer and the doctor explained that it does not spread. The question was whether he got it all or not. He then wanted me to go get burned with lasers, etc. by other doctors. I refused, saying we could just "wait and see." My family ws so scared that "I had cancer." I explained that it was minor and they had cut it off.

Today I am informed that excission is no longer used for this type of cancer. I wonder why? This would leave them treating it similar to how I treated myself before I went to the doctor. As you can see, I don't really trust doctors, but I believe excission is the best cure in these type cases.


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