What, When, Where and How Questions about this site. Is this website the right one for you? Start here to answer that question.
- This site is self-funded funded by me, Vernon Carré. Neither I or this website receives money from any government organization, healthcare system, research institution or hospital for operating it. Neither I or this website receives money from any insurance company, medical practice or physician for operating it. I also do not receive any in-kind support from any organization or physician. Therefore, I do not benefit from any of the following:
- what treatment you choose
- where you receive it
- who you receive it from
- if you choose to receive it or not
- how much you pay for it
Not every medical facility, hospital, insurance company or physician can say that about their website. You will find no advertorials here. Everything I write here (i.e. the blog and pages like this one) is what I experienced, know and believe to be correct. I have no incentive or motivation to provide any other kind of information. Any money received for this site will come from you, the visitor, through donations or through future services offered as mentioned in these FAQs.
Tools And Resources You Will Find In No Other Place
2. Need another reason to use this site versus some others? This curated news site's focus is on providing new cancer patients the information they want on their cancer and its treatment using the most current cancer news feeds. Cancer patients with a recurrent cancer and all patient supporters will also find the information here in researching their cancer.
This website currently streams 20+ research feeds displayed on this site from PubMed. The number and type of research feeds continually evolve. Also, this site uses news feeds where more than 5,000 news and media channels stream news stories on the latest cancer breakthroughs. Both PubMed and the EIN websites stream cancer research, news and information into CancerNewsAndBlog.com through their 24/7 RSS (Rich Site Summary) news feeds. You will spend over 300 hours locating even a small portion of these feeds on your own. I know because I have.
This site is your one-stop-shop for breaking cancer research and news. The segmented feeds here focus on one type of cancer unless otherwise specified at the top of the feed. For new patient's researching their cancer, this site is your springboard to building confidence in exploring cancer research on your own. Using the 24/7 streaming feeds here will save you untold hours each week compared to visiting these feeds individually.
In addition to the research and news feeds, CancerNewsAndBlog.com provides the tools to assist you with understanding what you read. This website also provides, on the Front Page, a medical dictionary to help you specifically with the definition of words used in cancer research and how to pronounce them. Also on the Front Page is a drug search tool to give you all the information you need about any drug prescribed to you or used to treat your cancer.
Then There's The Jump Starter Tool Kit - The Hackers Hundred Cancer Links
But wait, there's more (as infomercial's shout on TV)! Yes, I'm very proud of the information packed into this website for you. 🙂 Besides the news feeds, new patients would spend even more hours finding the resources necessary to search PubMed. And, PubMed is every cancer patient's most important resource in locating the latest scientific cancer research for your cancer.
Without the other information provided on CancerNewsAndBlog.com in the Hacker's Hundred cancer links, you will spend countless hours searching for the NCI-designated cancer hospitals which treat a high volume of patients with your particular cancer. High volume hospitals and surgeons who operate on your specific cancer is often the most crucial factor in your survival. A list of NCI-designated hospitals and a map of where they are is waiting for you in the Hacker's Hundred cancer links document in the Menu Bar at the top of the page. The 10 Fs of Cancer Blog discusses in upcoming posts how to find high volume surgeons who operate on your type of cancer.
Don't Forget The Real Gold Nugget Here
The 10 Fs of Cancer Blog presents other helpful information, in addition to new cancer research, with new cancer patients. The blog's purpose is to teach and discuss topics like which hospital staff to ask for what you need and how to use them effectively to get the best possible care. You will learn how the hospital nursing staff is organized and "who is responsible for what service" during your hospital stay. Asking the wrong person for the right thing will delay you in receiving the care you need or prevent you from receiving the care at all. As a former healthcare executive and cancer survivor I have information here you won't hear quite the same way anywhere else.
What do I mean by that last line? Well, my work experience includes healthcare management and my personal experience includes being a cancer patient and survivor. Therefore, I have learned thing others don't know about either of those things. The truth can be tough to hear at first. However, with this sharing you learn how to improve your chances for surviving your cancer. You know, "the truth will set you free". You will never meet the people who taught me the lessons I discuss. And, you won't know their names from reading anything in the blog. However, you can improve your survival chances, if you understand the core of the lessons I learned. They apply to every patient.
I never believe I know all the truth about anything - Ever. Certainty is the enemy of both truth and learning. Uncertainty opens us up for deeper truths and revelations. Disagreement and discussion refines and elevates the truth when done with respect and humility. When we think and discuss together we know more than when we think alone.
What To Trust, Question And Not Trust On This Website
3. For the reasons listed in #1, you can trust this website, which includes the pages and blog posts. The 24/7 news feeds on this website do not contain any news or research articles I have written, so you won't want to believe them until you have verified the information from other sources. In addition, most if not all of the research feeds here distribute peer-reviewed and completed research from well-respected institutions from around the world. Much of the research you see will show the professional journal in which it is published. This doesn't make them impeccable however, as Anil Potti taught us in 2015. Unfortunately, Potti's case is not an isolated one. There is also the research performed by Bharat Aggarwal at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who was on Thomson Reuters Web of Science’s list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.
You will see that the research feeds take you only to PubMed research articles. These feeds are generally trustworthy. I create these feeds for specific cancers using the PubMed search engine. I use MeSH terms to filter these feeds. You will see the purpose of these feeds or the type of cancer they search for at the top of their page. Whether creating research feeds, news feeds or the blog posts, I ask only one question. How useful will new cancer patients and site visitors find them? Tell me you like other ones you've seen during your research that you found more helpful and I'll look at them. You may find them appearing here soon after that, as long as streaming them here is permitted.
Money (That's What I Want) (Go ahead, you know you want to click on it)
Remember, all research needs funding. Therefore, medical device and pharmaceutical businesses also fund research along with governments, foundations and other organizations. Like any business, these funding sources like something for their money. Money or in-kind contributions may influence research design as well as the final results. It almost seems as if the way research is performed, especially in the U.S. encourages fraud as this report from 2012 discusses, FDA Enforcement of Criminal Liability for Clinical Investigator Fraud. Clinical research results may simply show what the funding sources wanted to show, such as support for their medical device, drug, etc..
How To Find The Money
Look closely at the research you rely on for your treatment decisions. First, look at the bottom of the published article in any medical journal where the research is published and you will often see where the financial shown at the bottom of the article. If not, funding information shows (often) in a PubMed article by clicking on the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) under the abstract. Here's one example below of how it will appear, taken from the DOI link of an article:
Funding: This work was supported by Thomas B. McCabe and Jeannette E. Laws McCabe Fund (http://www.med.upenn.edu/evdresearch/mccabefundawardprogram.html), received by RR; and Pennies in Action, received by RR. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
In the blog, I also discuss another tool that helps you find where a physicians receive his/her money from private interests. No tool or resource shows where a a physician may receive additional money in other forms. Those other forms may include travel and per diem expenses for conferences, training, discounts on drugs sold to his/her medical practice, etc..
Finally, clicking on a news feed link takes you to the website of a research hospital, agency, etc. Therefore, you will often often find information and facts mixed with marketing and advertising copy on that website. The saying of "trust but verify" is an important one to remember whenever you research. We discuss much more on trust and the role of money in cancer medicine in the next FAQ.
Hi, I'm Vernon Carré, the owner and principal writer of this website and blog. Since the website is separated into two parts, let's begin by discussing this separation. First, the news feeds come from well-respected organizations and agencies where they perform cancer research. Some of the organizations and agencies are purely cancer research facilities. Other news feeds may come from hospitals or healthcare systems involved in treating cancer patients and who are at the same time performing cancer research. Other than curate those news feeds, neither this website or I have anything to do with the information you will find there. Read the earlier FAQ regarding what information you can trust and what you should be cautious about on this website.
Secondly, Vernon Carré is the principal writer of The 10Fs of Cancer Blog. There may be other guest writers who write blog posts and who are responsible for their own content but most of what you find will be written by Mr. Carré. His experience in healthcare and with cancer is described below, so you can judge his ability to speak about either of those two subjects.
Let Me Introduce Myself
How to you summarize a lifetime of experience in six careers and describe how each helped me in fighting cancer. So, let me give you the short version of what you need to know. As you read the blog posts, feel free to ask for more detail.
Bachelor of Arts degree received in Psychology (Major) and Religion (Minor) in 1971 from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida
Masters degree received in Education in 1976 from UNC-Charlotte
Twenty years of experience as a soft skills trainer (e.g. communications, supervision, management, conducting effective meetings, leadership)
During this time I became certified in learning design and curriculum development. I also learned other obscure topics related to human learning and development such as Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP).
So how does this make me more qualified to write a cancer blog? Answer: I learn subject matter quickly, organize it. Studying how people learn helped with that a lot. And, I present the information quickly, so it can be understood by anyone.
Three years experience as a Director of Education in a 236 bed Hospital and Heart Institute in Columbia, South Carolina
What you need to know is I was a Department Director and reported to the CEO of this hospital. I was there to provide hospital staff with the continuing education required by regulatory and accreditation agencies. My staff provided or coordinated Nursing Education, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training for nurses and physicians, Fire Safety training and other specialized training like Sterilization Technician training. In addition, I acted as a de facto organizational consultant to the hospital CEO. We frequently discussed the processes and behaviors which reduced a department's performance and kept staff from performing well. Observing communications between the departments and with other members of hospital management required me to participate in hospital Risk Management, Patient Safety, Nursing, Allied Health and Hospital Administration meetings.
Before You Can Know The People - Learn The Culture
So how does this make me more qualified to write a cancer blog? Answer: As an educator, I observed the routines and daily work of healthcare employees working in their specialty. My task as an in-house educator (much better than an out-house educator) is to improve employee performance through education and training courses.
One key lesson I took with me from this positions was that physicians, nurses and even security personnel see their "turf" (i.e. specialty) as theirs and theirs alone. They work for their profession or specialty and not "the hospital". They work in isolation and interact with the ROYs of the other specialties only minimally. What's a ROY? Rest Of Ya'll And yes, I learned that acronym from a hospital administrator. It was a southern one, of course, ya'll.
A ROY is really just a group of other archetypes that I discuss in one of the last FAQs here. They will also be covered in several blog posts because the quality of care you receive in healthcare hinges on understanding these archetypes and how they behave in executing those roles.
Nine years experience as Executive Director of Education for an AHEC (Area Health Education Center) serving nine rural hospitals in nine counties
This experience taught me the most about politics in healthcare and how it is very clearly an industry in every sense of the word. To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, who spoke about the Military-Industrial Complex, U.S. healthcare is a Healthcare-Industrial Complex. You don't need to make more than a few visits to any physician's practice or hospital to know healthcare is an industry. As in any industry, money makes it move. Dr. Lucian Leape, a surgeon and adjunct professor of health policy at Harvard's School of Public Health says in Error Epidemic: What every patient needs to know about medical mistakes written in 2015, "The United States is the only country in the world that has a business-based health care system...".
So how does this make me more qualified to write a cancer blog? Answer: I was a voting member of the Medical University of South Carolina's (MUSC) Dean's Council. Each year I, other AHEC educators and teaching hospital physicians would vote where $12 million would be spent for physician training in intern and residency training programs. Shortly thereafter, this $12 million becomes several million more dollars as other streams of revenue matches it or flows to it from other financial sources. Additionally, I reported directly to my Board of Directors comprised of those nine CEOs of nine rural hospitals.
"The Fair Only Comes Once A Year"
Successful people spend little time pondering if life is fair. It isn't. Instead, I tell myself "Learn this game. You understand how this works in order to win. And, you understand the "rules" others play to lose." Spend your time whining and you only lose time winning. Receive energy from the progress you make on solving the puzzle(s) in front of you. Success breeds more success.
In order to fight cancer you first have to get to first base. As Brad Pitt said in his role as Billy Beane in Moneyball, "You get on base, we win. You don't, we lose. And I *hate* losing, Chavy. I *hate* it. I hate losing more than I even wanna win."
No, it isn't absolutely necessary. However, you receive benefits from researching your cancer and its treatment. We discuss these benefits in subsequent FAQs. Let's be clear. The average cancer patient does not review much or any of the research on their cancer or its treatment and they survive. The probability of their survival is based on on the published statistics for the treatment they receive. If you choose not to do research, here is what your "war on cancer" will probably look like.
When first diagnosed, you will receive a referral to an oncologist. Your oncologist is the quarterback or 5-star General of your team. He is in contact with any other physicians treating you. Many patients are also referred to a radiologist and surgeon, depending on whether they have a tumorous cancer or not. If you are in a hospital when diagnosed, your referrals come from a list the hospital creates and uses. If your primary care physician (PCP) makes the referral, he or she will make the referral for any number of reasons. Not all of those reasons will serve your best interest. Every referral will influence your treatment and possibly your result.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Match
I enjoy reading Medpage Today's website KevinMD.com website. The website describes Kevin Pho, MD as "Social Media's Leading Physician Voice". In May, 2010, Michael Kirsch, MD wrote a blog post on Dr. Pho's website titled, How doctors choose which specialists they refer to. It is worth reading. Dr. Kirsch lists the seven common reasons a PCP uses in referring patients. Other than referring to the most available specialist, the reasons he gives have little to do directly with quality of care. However, I agree with him that this doesn't necessarily mean the patient is not well-served.
If speed is your primary concern, you will likely be happy with the referral you receive from your PCP. If a specialist's experience in treating your specific cancer is important to you, perhaps the one least busy is not the best choice for you. Or, is the availability of the latest equipment in diagnosing and treating your cancer more your concern? Then you need to state your preferences to your PCP, ask questions and perhaps make phone calls or do a little research on which facilities have the equipment you want. However, at this point you are beginning to do a little more than the average cancer patient and you didn't want to do that, right?
Kirsch's Complete List
- Reciprocity –- patients are referred in both directions
- Personal relationships
- Corporate enforcement keeping consultations within the network
- Economic pressure exerted by consultants to maintain referrals. I have seen this happen.
- Specialist willingness to do tests and procedures on request
- Patient or family request
Reason number three on Dr. Kirsch's list of seven is one that I think needs more discussion. Does a hospital own your PCP's practice? Are you in a hospital when first diagnosed with cancer? If either of these is true, look closely at Kirsch's reason three: Corporate enforcement keeping consultations within the network. In my experience, patients are never sent to a competing hospital or healthcare system's physicians. This is true even if the other hospital system or one of its physicians has more experience in treating your type of cancer. Certainly, if you receive your cancer diagnosis in a hospital setting, this rule trumps all others.
Other Factors Influencing Your Treatment - Including Money
Additionally, other factors influencing your referral will be your insurer, insurance or lack of it. Some physicians take medicare insurance and others don't. In addition, some physicians do not take take payments from every private insurance company. Tell your PCP and the oncologist to whom you are referred if the cost of treatments is a concern to you. Physicians are becoming aware that the cost of cancer is killing patients, sometimes before the cancer does. This article, Financial Insolvency May Be a Risk Factor for Early Mortality Among Patients With Cancer discusses the details.
Be aware though that you oncologist has another competing influence as this 2006 NBC News video and article discusses, Cancer Docs Profit From Chemotherapy Drugs. Dr. Robert Pearl, M.D. tells us in his 2014 article, Are Oncologists Recommending The Best Treatments For Patients? nothing has changed eight years later.
You may need to press for less expensive alternatives to the recommended chemotherapy drugs, especially if you've done your homework on the guidelines and on the Internet. Memorial Sloan Kettering refused in 2012 to purchase a more expensive cancer drug for patients. Read, Memorial Sloan Kettering Doctors’ Stance on the High Cost of Cancer Drugs Featured on 60 Minutes on why. Don't be afraid to ask or find a hospital or physician who is willing to work with you. Intelligent physicians know they are in a business. They prefer to make a little money off of you versus making none at all. You already know from reading this there is one hospital who feels the cost of many chemotherapy drugs is too high. They can be your first resource.
Zip Code, Available Cash And Money To Guideline Authors
Also, influencing your treatment options is your zip code. Using a patient's zip code improves overall patient compliance and makes patients treatments more convenient by being nearer where they live. If you have insurance issues in affording the "best" physician for your treatment you still have options. Pay cash for a second opinion. Remember, second opinions often involve a physician reviewing previously performed tests. You will probably not pay for any new tests.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, or NCCN, publishes and updates cancer treatment guidelines based on current research. However, the experience, skill level and access to specialized equipment all influence the implementation of the guidelines. These influences work for you, provided you do the proper research on your treatment physicians and the hospital facility. They will work against you if you aren't aware of them. Other influences work on the NCCN Guidelines as well. Cancer Therapy Advisor published this report in August, 2016 to show how deeply money influences cancer treatments and the NCCN Guidelines as Financial Conflicts of Interest Prevalent Among NCCN Guideline Authors discusses.
However, remember the average cancer patient does not look at these guidelines so you need to decide if you want to look. Some patients want to know as much as they can in order to work at achieving the best outcome in their treatments. You may already know more than you wanted to know. No one will criticize you for being upset and leaving this website right now. But, remember I'm not creating conspiracy theories about medicine. I've only researched the mainstream news, reputable medical and cancer news websites and presented it here. These news and medical sites want the negative influences known and addressed, since they do not appear to be in the best interests of cancer patients.
First, discussing your research about your disease and treatment with your physicians keeps them engaged and listening to you. Most physicians show interest in the questions you have about your cancer and its treatment. And, they will make an effort to give you the information, especially if you show you can understand it.
Oncologists do not enjoy explaining what every word means, including medical terms. Who does? On the other hand, oncologists enjoy questions when a patient shows an interest in knowing the words describing their treatment. They will talk with patients who "do their homework". Also, physicians look more closely at their recommendations when they have to explain them to patients. Like all of us, physicians hear themselves while explaining something to someone else. So, they hear again if the treatment options make sense while explaining them to you.
Physicians use analogies and metaphors with patients who know little about their disease or its treatment. The descriptions they use may not be very exact. However, physicians use them since the law requires you have the information. An analogy or metaphor is never an exact description of it. But, if you show you are not interested they have little choice other than to use them.
Combining Research With Reality Will Make You Whole Again
OK, let's get "real world". In this example, my oncologist was discussing my chemotherapy and the side effects of the drugs. From my research and in talking with him, I knew I would be tired thirty-six hours after the chemo drugs were given to me. I asked if I could move my treatment time to Wednesday afternoons, since I worked Monday through Friday. He agreed without hesitation. Therefore, I slept off the effects of the drugs over the weekend and my work never suffered.
Research also means using friends, family and other physicians to ask questions. This support group has resources you don't have. And, is able to ask people you don't know for the information you need. For example, in a discussion with a friend who worked in a non-medical profession, I said I didn't like the surgeon to whom the healthcare system's satellite hospital referred me. He said his wife may be able to help. She is an attorney and had recently represented a prominent surgeon at the main hospital in a personal matter. She called him and inquired about my surgeon's experience. He did not mince words in their private conversation. She told me that in summary he said, "I wouldn't let him operate on my dog." You won't find research like that on the Internet.
After my research and talking to four surgeons, I had a strong opinion about how I wanted my pyloric valve addressed in my surgery. I chose a surgeon who told me that he did it the way I wanted, even before I gave my thoughts on the subject. And, he had even better reasons than I found for doing it the way I wanted. My quality of life is the better for it.
Another reason to study your cancer and its treatment is that you can determine if you are using the best facility to administer your treatment. Your research may show the treatments recommended for your cancer are new or advanced ones. By asking your oncologist how many times they and their hospital have administered them, you may learn you're their first patient. If so, perhaps you should consider gassing up the car or calling an airline. Also, an NCI-designated Cancer Center may be a better option for you if you have a rare or difficult cancer. Or, perhaps receiving treatment at a local hospital near family and friends may be more important to you. With research, at least you will know what you gain and possibly lose by your final choice in healthcare facilities.
Research Shows That High Volume Surgeons And Hospitals Make All The Difference In Improving Your Survival StatisticsDoes the experience of both the hospital and surgeon make a difference in cancer surgery? Yes, it does. This is especially true with the more lethal and less common cancers in your country. Reading the next two research articles, will help you understand why it's important to do your research on both. A decade of mortality reductions in major oncologic surgery: the impact of centralization and quality improvement. Impact of hospital volume on operative mortality for major cancer surgery.
If your cancer is rare in the country where you live and you have the means, consider traveling to a country where it isn't rare. This can perhaps ensure more experienced surgeons and hospitals. When Eastern Surgeons Meet Western Patients: A Pilot Study of Gastrectomy with Lymphadenectomy in Caucasian Patients at a Single Korean Institute.
You may not be able to use your U.S. insurance for foreign surgery and the other treatments you may need. However, a hospital outside the U.S. bills you in their own country's currency. Therefore, you may be able to pay cash. Crazy? Read this: Heart Surgery in India for $1,583 Costs $106,385 in U.S. Additionally, many of the recommended overseas hospitals used for "medical vacations" are staffed by U.S. trained physicians who speak English. Some hospitals have patient interpreters or have medical staff who speak English as well as their own language.
Finally, knowing what is going to happen to you through research reduces stress. Reducing your stress is vital while undergoing cancer treatments as this study The effect of chronic stress on anti-angiogenesis of sunitinib in colorectal cancer models concludes.
Great question. But, if you understood the research in the last FAQs then you are able to understand research, in general. Your critique of the statistics in a research article is not important. And, it is not important to understand every word of the article. Do you understand the Abstract and Conclusion sections of a research article? Does it come from a reputable source? Then, you probably have all the information you need from that article.
I'm going to guess you felt lost and confused when you were learning to read at three or four years old. Right? I know I did. So why didn't we quit? Our thirst for information and knowledge made us struggle. Perhaps, you also overcame your frustration because adults encouraged you. You mispronounced words and felt embarrassed for 2 seconds. Then, you moved on. Or, you may have been laughed at and ridiculed by adults. Do that to a three year old and they don't stop learning, unless it's 24/7 abuse. They will ignore you and grow up anyway, only to resent what you did.
Three year old children want to do only one thing beyond eat, play and sleep. They want to grow up so they can do more stuff, big people stuff. They move themselves in the direction of becoming an adult. Looking foolish is of little concern to them. They pick themselves up and move on. Children know the path of learning will have ups and downs. But, they will be an adult one day.
Research your cancer for the same reason you learned to read. You will move forward and survive (SUR vive (sur vive’) verb: to remain alive longer than others). Conquering your cancer won't give you the life you wanted. The strength you will take away from it will give you a life you could not even dream of having earlier, if that's what you want.
Even though feeling embarrassed and mispronouncing words at three years old didn't feel great, it motivated you to work harder. How are you different now? Your ego grew bigger. That's all. You wanted the 'not knowing things' and confusion of learning behind you. Now, here it is again! Well, to be alive is to 'not know things' and to be confused every day. Learning means making mistakes. A precursor to the learning process is not knowing. Certainty prevents learning. Relax. Everyone started at that same confusing place with any new learning, including your physicians.
If You Don't Understand What Is Going On, You Won't Receive Treatment
Informed consent is a legally binding document. You will be required to sign more than one of them as a cancer patient. The agreement holds up in a court of law. Signing it declares your physician explained, and you understand, the risks and rewards of the treatment you will receive. And, you approve the treatments. It is important enough that your physician won't treat you if you don't sign it. Therefore, not signing it means you will not be treated, even if you will die as a result. Therefore it is important for you to know at least the basics of your cancer and treatments. The law requires it. So the only questions is, how important is being informed to YOU? How important is it to you to learn even more?
Only you know how much you need or want to know about your cancer and its treatment. And, you aren't a better or worse patient if you choose to learn a little or a lot. It comes down to what is important and necessary for you. You set the bar for knowledge and no one else.
At first, most of us think we don't need to know that much about our cancer. We prefer not to think about our cancer when first diagnosed. "Leave it to the doctors" is often our first feeling about our cancer when first diagnosed.
The Overwhelming Nature Of Cancer Has Nothing To Do With Our Need To Learn About It
But, soon we want to know more and more. Understanding something makes us feel we have a certain power over it. Humankind makes names for everything to "have dominion over them", paraphrasing the Old Testament. Every cancer patient is drawn into a world where cancer is ever-present. Even patients who try to not think about it at all will think more and more about it each day, for months to come.
Is cancer an obsession or simply overwhelming? Because you will have bills coming in nearly every day telling you what you owe on this treatment or that prescription. Every doctor appointment will lead to one or two or three more appointments with someone, somewhere. You will make dozens of phone calls about creating payment terms for large bills. You will be on the phone with your insurance company trying to straighten out their mess. It's not an obsession we have with cancer. We simply feel overwhelmed. It's like a black cloud following you everywhere. And yes, we discuss the overwhelming nature of cancer in the blog as well.
Also, be aware that many cancer patients often only get one chance to kill their cancer. Your decisions will be much better the first time the more you research the first time as much as possible.
Killing your cancer isn't like passing a test in school. Every test (i.e. treatment) you will take to kill your cancer is Pass/Fail. It's an A or an F at the end of the course of treatment. Bs and Cs are not handed out on these tests. Receiving a B or C means you have to take the test over or take another test. Therefore, learn what you need to pass the test (i.e. treatment) successfully the first time.
Fill in the blank. There is no time for me to research my cancer because I __________. (work long hours / take care of my 1-12 children / am a caregiver to someone else who needs me / am disabled / am dyslexic / etc, etc.
I know your answer is true. I also know your cancer doesn't care.
When patients first tell their family and friends about their cancer they are often amazed at the number of friends they have. Family and friends will offer help with meals, cutting your grass, taking you to treatments, sitting with you during chemotherapy, walking your dog and on and on. They want to help. Let them. It will help them feel important and needed. Very soon you are going to know just how important they are. Don't deprive them of the gift you are giving them by asking for help. If your family is small, lives out-of-town, remember there are volunteer organizations in your community who have members willing to help you. Ask!
How To Use Your Helpers Wisely
So, how do family and friends help you learn about your cancer and its treatment? Why not ask them to research a specific topic? If they know how to Google search, they will be able to learn how to research on PubMed. Remember to tell them how important it is to you. And, show them the tool for understanding the medical terms and drug information in their research on the Front Page of this news site. If you are a slow reader, visually impaired, dyslexic, exhausted from chemotherapy or radiation, etc. they will feel what they are doing is that much more important. Know any teenagers who will help? Do they enjoy science or biology in school? You struck gold.
You will read what they find, so ask your researcher to cut and paste the Abstract and Conclusion of each article. Also, ask them to copy the link of every article they think is relevant to your search. The links are important so you can easily find the articles yourself later.
Ask non-researching friends to walk your dog, so you have time to do the research yourself. Ask if they will cook a few meals or clean your house, if they prefer to do that. That's just more time for you to find answers. Also, don't forget that most major grocery chains have healthy hot bars and salad bars. I continue to bring meals home from two of them 3-4 times a week. But, that's just because I think that I don't enjoy my own cooking. I enjoy my cooking but keeping the same cook around for 60 years can get boring, even if he is a master chef. OK, that's the only lie I'll tell. But, it's not the last joke.
If There Was Ever A Time
It's time for you to be "selfish". Overcoming your cancer is about you. This is about what YOU need. How you use your time is about no one else. Remember the instructions we all receive before a commercial airplane takes off? In case of emergency, you will FIRST put on your own oxygen mask. Even before putting masks on your children, your mask goes on first. If you can't breathe, you cannot help anyone else put on their mask. You are first in this emergency also.
Your dog is not going to suffer permanent damage if he or she isn't walked every day. Fast food is not going to kill you before you beat your cancer. So, eat fast food if preparing a meal is too big a task for you now. The leaves and lawn are fine in whatever condition they are now. And, if you follow the practice of my neighbors, never rake or bag your leaves. All the leaves in the neighborhood eventually blow over onto another neighbor's lawn who does rake and bag them. It's like the eighth law of physics or something.
Yes, there is one thing you need to do in order to make the information you read in The 10Fs of Cancer Blog and in the news feeds payoff for you. I use the popular term "hacking". When I worked in Information Technology as a consultant I didn't always like that term when I heard it. Later, I learned that everyone hacks, EVERYONE. At least everyone hacks in the way I use the term here.
Urbandictionary.com defines a hack as "a clever solution to a tricky problem". And, that's how it's used here. If you want average results in your cancer treatments then do what everyone else does. In additon, only do what your doctors tell you to do and only where they tell you to do it. That's where average results and statistics come from. FACT: Systems serve the people who create them and receive income from them and only secondarily serve the people who use them. If it's better than average results you want, you need to be a hacker and admit you've always been one in one form or another. I know, it's tough to hear for some of you. But, keep reading. Only four more paragraphs and you will understand more about it and feel much better.
The Happy Hacker (No, not like the 1971 book, The Happy Hooker. I said, Happy Hacker lol)
As a cancer patient, you must focus on one thing: How can I hack this system, environment, physician for my gain? Cancer patients don't have time to fix the healthcare system. You only have time to figure out how to make the healthcare system work for you NOW!
You perform hacks every day. Yes, it is "taking advantage". But, it is not necessarily taking advantage of someone, only a some thing. If you gain a benefit from hacking a system and someone else doesn't it just means they didn't know how or chose not to hack. That's their choice. Show me one person who doesn't try to gain a benefit from something (or someone) every day? Hacking as it is used here isn't unethical, immoral or illegal.
It probably never occurred to you to describe what you do every day in such a "selfish" manner. Everyone has to be selectively selfish to live. Every living thing learns how to do it for one reason or another, including we humans. For example, when there's one item left on the grocery shelf and you want it, do you leave it for someone else to buy? NO? I'm shocked! Utterly shocked!!! How selfish of you. And, don't tell me that before you take that last item that you ask the store clerk or manager if more are in stock for the others behind you who will want it. I know better. I worked in retail. No one asks. No one.
Hacks You Do And Others Do To You
Have you ever asked someone for a favor to interview a friend of yours so they might get a job without going through the HR Department? Have you ever batted your eyes, tossed your hair or, if a man, slipped someone 50 or 100 bucks to let you into a nightclub, theater, movie, restaurant, etc. so you didn't have to wait in line with the ROYs? (Don't remember that acronym? You skipped a previous FAQ.)
Do you wear cutoff shorts and tank tops when you meet with your oncologist? Why not? Because, you want to show you are a person with self-respect. And, your dress indicates you respect your oncologist, of course. So, isn't that hacking their belief system in order for them to think the way you want? You dress for Sunday church and weddings different from grocery store trips for the same reason. Your oncologist wears a white coat and not a T-shirt for the same reason. He's hacking you back. Finally, here's a funny video on hacking someone's perception and demonstrates what I'm saying. After watching the video, do you want to read those diplomas on your doctor's wall more closely next time?
Doctors Professionally Hack
If you have ever lived in a city of 350,000 or more people you've probably noticed something important about your local healthcare industry. The more experienced, better educated, well-known and successful physicians cluster and practice around the downtown or main hospital. That's not by coincidence. They are hacking the hospital system. That's the part of the system they work in that they didn't create, so they hack it. And, in the blog I talk about some of the reasons why this occurs and how you will use it to your advantage. Not all of the reasons for this clustering work against patient interests. Therefore, you will learn in The 10 Fs of Cancer Blog how to hack this clustering in your favor.
I have plans for this website to offer patients personalized news feeds on topics for their specific cancer. These feeds will include feeds from the National Institutes of Health and PubMed. How soon the service is available depends on visitor use and support for this website. If a medical librarian is reading this and has any interest in this effort, please contact me. Use the the Contact form in the top menu bar to send your email. Until then, your best patient resources for help in researching your cancer are some excellent YouTube videos showing how and the link to the Medical Library Association in the last paragraph below.
Your Best Search Resource
Use PubMed's tools to create searches on any medical topic. Anyone who types is able to perform searches on PubMed without creating a free account. However, PubMed saves your search history when using your free account. I encourage you to also create your own feeds from your searches. Instructions for creating feeds are on their site. Spending time watching PubMed You Tube videos like this one on 5 Tips for Searching PubMed will quickly improve your search ability. Use the previous link for viewing other tutorials on searching PubMed and this one on PubMed Searching - The Basics. Furthermore, you will see example feeds from PubMed for esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer surgery that I created on this site. They are in the Links section and will give you an idea of the information you will find.
The Medical Library Association (MLA) includes members who are extremely skilled at medical research. Professional medical librarians are your best "live" resource in teaching you how to perform the searches you need to learn about and kill your cancer. If you have a medical library near you, drive over and ask them for help. Call them if you can't drive there. But remember, it's more difficult to turn someone down who is asking for help standing in front of you than someone who is only on the phone. Yeah, that's a hack. But, you know that because you've been paying attention. By the way, the "medical library" hyperlink three sentences earlier is a list of the U.S. medical libraries.
The curated news feeds here use a minimum of key filters in order to retrieve news you will find most interesting and helpful. The word curate means: "to select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge". Using too many filters begins to filter out articles and stories you want. Too few filters give you more information but you will see more articles of less use to you.
Reputable medical and research institutions make available the the 24/7 news feeds on this site. Keeping current on the latest cancer news will require you to visit this curated news website frequently. New news appears in these feeds 24/7 as it is released. Additionally, each feed is unique in focus, content, etc. Favorite or bookmark the feeds most helpful to you, so that you can view them quickly each time you revisit this site.
Some Facts To Remember About Medical Searches
The medical term "cancer" is a very broad heading in medical library indexes. PubMed uses more than 100 filters on the word cancer in a search. Why? Because when you search using only the word cancer PubMed must include all cancers. Also, included in the search will be all the stages of cancers, the genetics of cancer etc.
In addition, cancer researchers may include the word neoplasm in their cancer research. The definition of a neoplasm is: "tumor; any new and abnormal growth, specifically one in which cell multiplication is uncontrolled and progressive". Neoplasms may be benign or malignant and therefore are studied in cancer research. If a search allows for neoplasms, research on benign neoplasms as well as cancerous neoplasms will appear in the news feed.For these reasons, you will use additional medical terms to narrow your search when your search includes the word cancer. For example, if you search for breast cancer you will get articles on cancer research specific to breast cancer. However, you will retrieve a lot of articles returned which are of no interest to you. Why? Because, there is not just one type of breast cancer. I'm aware of fourteen types and there are probably more. Watching video tutorials like this one on 5 Tips for Searching PubMed will focus your searches in a way most helpful to you. Also, the cataloging of medical research articles makes a huge difference. Medical librarians play a very important role in indexing research. A correct Index uses MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) terms and improves the quality of your searches. PubMed uses MeSH terms, Google does not.
Furthermore, the Front Page includes tools you will find helpful in reading research articles. And, as better feeds are found existing ones are replaced. Please feel free to share feeds and websites you find especially helpful to you as you locate other resources from the Internet. Chances are other cancer patients will find them helpful as well.
All Of This News And Research PLUS A BLOG!
In conclusion, the 10 Fs of Cancer Blog has information and research Vernon Carré and other patients like you find helpful in killing cancer. Each F is an important building block in killing your cancer. Vernon describes his cancer experiences demonstrating how to use the 10 Fs in your personal war against cancer. Included in the blog are tips on how to navigate the U.S. medical and hospital healthcare system. Each blog post addresses at least one of the 10 Fs of Cancer. Finally, collecting and publishing the the 10 Fs posts, along with your comments, will serve as a primer for new cancer patients. It is the endgame of the blog.
Yes, it is. All of it.
Research facilities, hospitals, professional medical journals, etc. provide the news feeds on this site. Therefore, these organizations retain the copyright to their feeds. The 10 Fs of Cancer Blog posts are copyrighted by Vernon Carré or the guest author who wrote them. Also, all of the information on this website is for personal use only.
Send queries about the commercial use of information in the news feeds to the copyright owner of the feed. Furthermore, pages, images, designs, blog posts, comments and words on this website are copyrighted in whole or in part. Commercial use of the pages, images, designs, blog posts and comments found on this site is forbidden.
Yes, it does. Any data or information on this site that you receive in your web browser or send to the website is encrypted using the same encryption banking and financial sites use. You can click on the web address lock symbol in your browser to see the website public information.
Are There Any Security Risks?
This site only asks you to type in your name and email address when making Comments to posts and it is encrypted. If you login using Facebook or Twitter, that information is verified at those sites using an API Gateway unique to this website. Facebook and Twitter use their own encryption during your login. Your name will appear in the comments section. But, email addresses do not appear. Your email is used solely to prevent spam in the Comments section.
This site uses Google Ads and participates in (pays) Google Ads to attract visitors to this website from other websites. In addition, revenue also occurs through affiliate agreements this site has with other businesses. Google selects advertisers who they believe sell products that may be of interest to our site visitors.
Any money generated by this website is used to cover operating costs. Operating costs include website hosting, software purchases, etc..
Increases In Revenue Will Increase Service Offerings
Finally, if revenue increases so will services like the ones mentioned such as hiring medical librarians to provide personal news feeds to individuals on their particular cancer, purchasing a SSL certificate to visitors who prefer to use one, etc.. The purpose of this website has never been to generate revenue and pay salaries for any staff. Therefore, it is not likely to ever occur. Finally, any money paid to staff in the future will be from fee-for-service activities paid by visitors requesting a particular service. An example would be creating specific cancer news feeds for cancer patients or their supporters who request them.
First, you have many helpful news feeds on oncology, radiology and surgery on this website. The news feeds provide new cancer information to you 24/7. Older and less useful feeds are removed when better or newer ones are discovered or suggested by visitors.
Next, you have tools like the NIH widget on the Front Page of this website. You will use this tool to look up information on your cancer. The tool will allow you to also look up any medical term. Additionally, you will use the drug information widget to give you information on any drug your physicians prescribe. Patients find these tools very helpful as they are reading the news feeds and blog posts on this site. Visitors find it helpful to always keep the Front Page and the tools on this website in their browser. This allows you to use our Front Page tools on any website you visit to learn more about your cancer.
New Tools And Resources Will Mentioned In Blog Posts - Keep Coming Back!
The blog posts and other pages here will give you even more tools. Like many visitors you will keep coming back to this news website daily. You have already found many useful tools and resources reading these FAQs. Eventually, you will find so many resources and tools that you will have to decide which ones to ignore. Your reward? You get to make critical decisions with your physicians based on facts. You also increase your chances of surviving cancer.
Knowledge reduces fear and stress. Knowledge makes the unknown known. It makes the Boogeyman go away.
Stress will potentiate (increase) angiogenesis as this PubMed article discusses, The effect of chronic stress on anti-angiogenesis of sunitinib in colorectal cancer models. Don't know "angiogenesis"? Use the dictionary widget on the Front Page of this website. This research article states that reducing fear, stress and worry improves your chances of killing your cancer.
Archetypes Are Not People Who Design Houses
Let's discuss archetypes for a minute. No, they are not old architects but they are old and do have a pattern to them. An archetype is defined as "a very typical example of a certain person or thing". So, in a sense it is a pattern or design but of a type of person. Remember when you were a child and you played "dress up"? You may have been a mommy, daddy, banker, soldier, teacher, etc. Those are archetypes. Every culture has their own and some are more common than others. Ones like Hero, Warrior, Victim, Prostitute, Wizard, etc. seem to be found in every culture.
The purpose of an archetype is to quickly teach us social patterns of behavior, rather than have to learn each set of behaviors one behavior at a time. We practice them so we can quickly "become them" when we are in an unfamiliar social situation later as an adult. They are like an old coat we can easily slip into because we have "muscle memory" of how to play that role. They can be very useful or very harmful, depending on the situation and time we choose to use them. You probably know by now I like the Warrior archetype. However, it's not one I want to use if I find myself standing on railroad tracks staring at a freight train coming at me 50 mph.
Worriers are victims who feel powerless. Knowing the facts about your cancer and its treatment will empower you. Patients with solid research will be part of the solution to a problem rather than a victim of it. Victims receive and allow cancer treatments, they don't choose them. You will find victims asking "Why me?" frequently. Therefore, there have no choices.
Victims are told what to do. A worrier is a victim of their own thinking. The problem, or perhaps just a part of it, overwhelms them. "I have cancer. I'm going to die." This is as far as their thinking ever gets when they think about their cancer. Therefore, they do not easily think about solutions. Worriers experience exhaustion before any details of the problem are known. As a result of their exhaustion, any solutions have to come from someone else. The solution provider may be their spouse, friend, palm reader, oncologist or time itself. A victim's archetype is not capable of providing a solution to situation.
Warriors on the other hand research and investigate the enemy they are facing. The term investigate means "to carry out research or study into (a subject, typically one in a scientific or academic field) so as to discover facts or information". Warriors prepare. They look for weaknesses in their enemy and request their Generals exploit every one of them.
On the battlefield they use every tool available to fight. And, they never assume prior to battle that they have all the tools that will help them. So, they are always looking for better ones. In addition, warriors study the battlefield (e.g. cancer treatments, nutrition, complementary medicine) and how to use it effectively. They fight prepared. They are eager to engage the enemy.
The Warrior archetype creates confidence. That confidence and knowledge very often provides us the opportunities to be more successful and defeat their enemy. "The successful outcome of any battle is a result of my preparation and skill" is one of their core beliefs. Warriors will not think or worry about the outcome of their battle. Thinking or worrying about an outcome has never delivered one. In all the history of war, worrying more than an enemy about an upcoming battle never caused that enemy to lose more often.
- Overall costs for cancer in the year 2000 was $180.2 billion
- $60 billion for direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures)
- $15 billion for indirect morbidity costs (cost of lost productivity due to illness)
- $105.2 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death)
- Cancer-related costs account for about 10 percent of the total amount spent on disease treatment in the United States.
Yes, the death rates for most cancers has declined but there's still a LONG way to go. If we were fighting this war on foreign soil the public outcry over the casualties would have shut it down in the 1980's. If this is war, the "enemy" isn't thinking of calling it quits.
Cancer patients talk about "fighting" or "beating" their cancer. I use the word "kill" cancer. Fighting it or beating it up never interested me. My only goal was to annihilate it.
So, let's stay with the war-like analogy a little longer since everyone buys into it with cancer. I'm going to tell you that you can be a Private or Colonel in your personal battle against cancer. Privates receive orders and follow them. Officers tell them what, how and when to do everything. Officers make up their mind for them. No one who holds higher rank wants to hear what they think, what they know or what they understand about a battle. Does this rank sound like a victim or a warrior to you?
Colonels, on the other hand, are respected and have earned a seat at the table. They have studied war and experienced war. This rank will give their opinion to Generals on the battle plan they will be executing. Colonels are below the rank of General (i.e. consider that your physician holds the rank of General). A General who knows a Colonel has studied the enemy will ask for and respect their thoughts and opinions. Also, Generals know that Colonels know their men better than anyone. In addition, they know Colonels are going to be in the actual fighting.
Whose Skin Is Most In This Game? Who Has The Most To Gain Or Lose?
Strong Generals know you will be the only one in the room fighting the actual battle. And if your Generals (i.e. physicians) know you've studied your enemy (i.e. cancer) they will listen to you as well. If they do not, find another General who will. Every army has more than one. And, there is more than just one hospital that can help you win this war, as well as more than one physician.
A Colonel knows what his or her men need to be fully committed in engaging the enemy. Similarly, you know what you need to maintain a strong commitment to win this war. Your research, and the knowledge you gain, increase your commitment. Research also reveals your concerns. Raising concerns only strengthens the battle plan. Concerns reveal and eliminate weaknesses. Therefore, they are essential to the development of solutions and contingency plans before they appear. Planning provides the ability to respond quickly to problems.
For example, concerns about your quality of life after treatment are important. At home after-care may be a concern. Maintaining a personal exercise program may be a concern. Maintaining your work schedule and personal appearance may be concerns. Who will take care of your children during the day if chemotherapy is hard for you may be a concern. How is the surgery performed? Are there alternative ways of doing it? Expressing your thoughts and concerns using the medical terms your Generals (i.e. physicians) understand will allow them to hear your concerns more clearly.
You Won't Know Everything. But, You Will Know Enough
You have the time and tools to study medical terms and research now to make yourself heard. You will never know enough to fight this personal war with cancer by yourself without your General's help. But, you will learn enough to influence the strategies, which will strengthen your commitment to win. And, it will give you a better quality of life. Remember, you will be the only one in the thick of this battle. No one else can really lose this battle but you. Choosing your Generals (i.e. physicians) begins with interviewing them to find out if they are willing to listen to you. You will insist your thoughts be heard and considered. Your homework is extensive on this enemy. Therefore, you are not one of the Privates your physicians may be used to having for patients.
Private or Colonel?
So, what will it be? Do you want to be a Private or a Colonel? Only one sits at the table and is listened to with respect. Regardless of which one you choose, I respect you for being as involved as you want in your fight and wish you the best result possible.