Seven years ago. I was diagnosed with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer – 26th July 2010. Until I arrived at my 5th anniversary, I hadn’t thought much about how (or if) I should mark these occasions. I never thought I would dwell on such things as ‘Cancerversaries‘ but I now totally get why many patients and survivors do.
There are various types of ‘Cancerversary‘ that for some, could trigger a mix or range of emotions including gratitude, relief and fear of cancer recurrence or growth. These milestones could be the date of a cancer diagnosis, the end of a particular type of treatment (anniversary of surgery etc) or a period since no signs or symptoms of cancer were reported. Everybody will most likely handle it their own way – and that’s perfectly understandable.
The 5 year milestone was significant, mainly I suspect, because it’s a time period very frequently used in prognostic outcome statistics. When I was researching after my diagnosis, the 5 year figure for metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer wasn’t that great, in fact it looked less favourable than more aggressive cancers. Then I gradually worked out that the prognostic figures for Neuroendocrine Cancer were dated (like many other things) and did not take into account improved diagnostic techniques and the introduction of a plethora of new treatments, in particular somatostatin analogues. Consequently, I no longer pay any attention to prognostic statistics – I’m actually more influenced by the large number of long-term survivors I see out there.
My cancer is treatable but not curable but I will never call it terminal. I’m still here and I intend to be here next year, and for many more years after that!
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