Thursday, November 1, 2012

100% chance that living will kill you

So I am taking it easy. I wen to a faculty meeting this morning. And then came home, put on my sweats and took a nap. I am now getting heartburn, but not much nausea. I would rather the heartburn. I got some OTC stuff and am feeling better.

I did read some interesting stuff. Apparently, in 1996 a studey identified 7 factors that consistently predicted the probability of remission in Hodgkins Lymphoma patients. (Well, actually, they were looking for the probability of what they called the five-year “Freedom from Progression of Disease,” or FFPD. I interpret FFPD to basically mean remission.)
The probability of remission is much different than the probability of survival, so you have to be careful not to read the results as such. It’s easy to get carried away with cancer statistics.
The 7 factors include things like age, sex, and the measure of certain chemicals in your blood. As I understand it, a patient without any of these 7 would have a remission probability of 84%. For every factor you have, you lose 7%. Also this is for those with advanced stages HL, I am lucky I am not advanced.... Well, in this case anyway. :)  But follow me here....
According to this test, for those with advanced stages, the provability of remission is around 60% for the next five years. But why stop there? Since we’re discussing statistics, I should mention that progressive heart disease is much more likely in Hodgkins patients following chemotherapy. Moreover, patients that receive treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma are 4 times more likely to develop lung cancer, and are at an increased risk to develop leukemia within the first 10 years following treatment. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, the number one cause of death among Hodgkins patients is second cancers that develop following diagnosis, but for those with lower stages like me, the number one killer is..... Wait for it..... Getting old.

Be that as it may, the Lindsey Jorgensen Institute of People Who Are Nuts says that if you don’t take the chemotherapy to cure your Lymphoma, you have a 100% chance of being an idiot. If all of these terrible thing that follow treatment happen, you should feel lucky that you lived long enough to develop a second cancer, heart disease, or whatever else.Realistically, I think these numbers – and really, any cancer statistics – should mean very little to an individual cancer patient. There are just too many factors involved to make any of these statistics worthwhile. Every individual responds differently to the treatment of cancer, and considering all the things modern medicine still doesn’t know much about this thing called cancer, there’s really no way to know what will happen. So, while these numbers are, I suppose, impressive or intimidating, they don’t effect me much. The really valuable thing that can be taken from all this is that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you better not let today pass without making the most of it.

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