The Truth about Cancer Success Rates


One of the most common questions to a cancer treatment facility from a cancer patient is “What is the success rate?  Can you imagine what would happen if a doctor turned that question around on patients and asked, “what do you think your chance of survival is? What is your plan in this healing partnership?” Patients do have choices of how they treat their body, and many of them can greatly influence how your health changes throughout the cancer fight.

The antagonist to a success rate is the mortality rate; this is a dark, scary number to think about. Rather, it is important to realize that both are rudimentary numbers, and just like with any other statistic, it is important to consider the context and variables that factor into calculating them. Don’t let a number define you, your strength, or your future.

The Uniqueness of Cancer Treatments

Cancer is, by definition, recognized as “a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue;” it can occur through many different host sites, such as the heart, skin, bone, or breast. However, each type of cancer – from location to the stage – is innately unique and features principles that differentiate it from other types. Similarly,there is no “one size fits all” for treating cancer. Chemotherapy is often the first term that comes to mind when one thinks of how to treat cancer, but it is not that simple or straightforward. 

Treating cancer is complex; there are many factors that go into creating a treatment plan, and rarely is there a one- step system in place because there are a lot of variables to account for. For example, “cells within a tumor will also interact with healthy cells in neighboring tissues, bones, blood cells, connective tissues and so on. The shape and structure of a tumor can also affect how cells within the tumor, and hence the tumor itself, behave: cells can be compressed by other rapidly dividing cells, or cells at the middle of the tumor can be starved of oxygen and so have to activate new metabolic pathways.”[1] As such, your doctor will work with you, incorporating variables including your medical history, genetic predispositions, among others to determine a plan that works best for you. This may include medicines to strengthen your immune system, and targeted therapies specifically designed to combat and “block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules ("molecular targets") that are involved in the growth, progression, and spread of cancer.”[2] Again, cancer is not a uniform disease and neither are the treatments designed to combat it. They are designed with you, the patient and fighter, in mind and are the tools that will best help you fight the disease in your own unique way.

The Uniqueness of You

You are unique, and you are special. This includes your personality, your physical and genetic composition, as well as your medical history. No one is a carbon copy of another; even identical twins, who have the same DNA, grow and create individual emotional identities, thus making them unique in their own way. Some people have certain drug sensitivities, whereas others do not. Some people have pre-existing conditions, like hemophilia, that might affect how they respond to certain medical treatments or procedures.[3] When compiling statistics, all of these individual, minute details are not included. Statistics are meant to capture the big picture – a generalization by which larger conclusions can be drawn. Some that are reported are even globally inclusive, meaning they summarize distinctions that take the entire world into account.[4] When looking at such data reports, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. These statistics are meant to be educational, or serve as broad guidelines. They are notmeant to be your personal compass: they do not take into account your medical history, inner strength, or ability to fight medical battles, in mind. 

Fighting Beyond any Statistic

There is so much more to fighting cancer than chemotherapy. We at CMN offer many therapies, including but not limited to dendritic cell therapy, bone marrow stem cell therapy, and ozone blood therapy, as part of a multi-dimensional treatment plan designed to heal you physically, mentally, and spiritually.  

How can a single statistic capture all of that? It can’t, so it is important to see beyond them and take charge of your healing. You have the power to take charge of your fight against cancer. Rather than focus on a statistic and however it may try to measure or limit you, have faith in yourself and that of your doctor. The patient- doctor relationship is sacred and crucial, and they are there as a resource who want only the best for you. Work with them, and be the captain of your team as you all navigate the cancer journey together. Cancer treatment is a partnership and doctors cannot make promises, but they are more educated and able to speak accurately on your individual situation than that of a printed statistic.

Further, use your power to take healing outside of the treatment center. Your doctors are relying on you just as you are relying on them. Simple changes one can make that can affect treatment include having a healthier diet, exercising, limiting alcohol intake, and eliminating smoking.[5] Self-treatment is crucial, and education is another way in which you can take control of your cancer journey.[6] Being kind to yourself, and having a positive outlook can make a world of difference. Your mental health is not mutually exclusive from your physical health; rather, your mental attitude can greatly affect how you physically feel, and you have complete control over that.

 You have more power over cancer success than you realize.

[1]Elizabeth Coker. “Unravelling the complexity of cancer.” The Institute of Cancer Research.

[2]“Targeted Cancer Therapies.” National Cancer Institute.

[3]April Kahn. “Bleeding Disorders.” 2015.

[4]“World Health Statistics 2010.” WHO Statistical Information (WHOSIS).

[5]“Stay Healthy.” American Cancer Society.

[6]“Attitudes and Cancer.” American Cancer Society.

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