Dr. Wendy Harpham is a doctor of internal medicine, cancer survivor, and award-winning and best-selling author of books about cancer: Healthy Survivorship, recovery and late effects, and raising children when a parent has cancer. She is also a public speaker, patient advocate, and mother of three.
Tony Snow and Hamilton Jordan are two recent examples of famous people whose illnesses have been broadcast for the world to see. The media can go crazy with a new diagosis, publishing pre-obituary headlines. Can you imagine if it were you?
My May 23rd post, "Dear Patient, I'm Sorry," prompted comments that gave me food for thought. An underlying theme reverberated thoughout: Healthcare professionals and patients need to relate as people. I couldn't agree more.
A recent oral presentation at the 8th Annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons has created a buzz on blogs and listservs. Basically, the 5-yr data show that breast cancer patients who have a taken hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have better survival rates than similar breast cancer patients who haven't taken HRT.
Some survivors express shock: "Whoa! I've heard over and over that HRT is a risk factor for developing breast cancer. Now they are saying HRT is protective? That HRT makes cancers good cancers?" No, that's not what they are saying.
In the early 1990s, a humorous definition of "survivor" was, "someone who was diagnosed with cancer and didn't die of a heart attack when they heard the news." Nowadays you could tweak the ending, "who didn't die of a heart attack when they got the bills not covered by their insurance."
How can you become a Healthy Survivor if you can't afford good care?