Six years ago. I was diagnosed with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer. Until my 5th anniversary last year, I hadn’t thought much about how (or if) I should mark these occasions. I’ve concluded there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong way to handle Cancer milestones which are frequently referred to as ‘Cancerversaries‘. Last year, I ended up settling for a ‘5 year’ celebratory blog. I didn’t think 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.
Last year’s 5 year milestone was significant, mostly 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 certain more aggressive cancers. Then I gradually picked up that prognostic figures for Neuroendocrine Cancer appeared to be 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. I no longer pay any attention to prognostic statistics – I’m actually influenced by the large number of long term survivors I see out there.
My cancer is incurable but treatable and I will never call it terminal. I’m still here and I intend to be here next year too!
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