you can F off with your five year survival rate

It is common in the media to refer to the five year survival rate when talking about breast cancer. Oncologists hospitals and cancer charities do it too. The five year stats are presented in such a way that we are clearly meant to be overjoyed and grateful.

Ok I get that cancer medicine has come a long way, and more people are surviving breast cancer. That makes me happy.

So. The stats say that around 90 percent of people survive hormone positive breast cancer for five years. And 77 percent of triple negative cancers will survive 5 years.

Of course those percentages sound really pleasing because they are very high, but to the person who had cancer in her 30’s, they do not fill me with hope or joy.thumbs-down-simon-cowell-300x230

To me it’s kind of like saying, hey you, it’s ok you won’t die of this cancer straight away, you probably have at least 5 years left, aren’t you lucky!  I always aspired to live longer than 40. Who wants to die at 40? So this makes me think, are they thinking about all ages when they are writing these stats? Maybe a 70 year old wouldn’t mind an extra five years? But what about for a 25 year old? I would imagine anyone at at any age wants to live a lot longer than 5 years.

I’m dissatisfied. And the bad thing is I don’t even have a solution and I don’t know what I would prefer to hear instead. A ten year survival stat? A twenty year survival stat? Perhaps I would never be satisfied, that is unless they gave me a 99.9 percent survival stat of living until old age and dying of, well old age I guess.

I know I sound flippant and moody and a complete bitch, but it’s how I feel. I’d like to know why doctors and the media choose to shove the 5 year stat in my face. If it’s not for big impressive 90 percent numbers to make the big men in the board rooms go “Ooohhh yeah that sounds great, then what is the point of it?”

Whilst on the subject of being a bitch.. If people are going to talk or whisper about you, they should perhaps be more discreet i.e not in earshot or your line of sight. Rolls eyes.

Eye-roll-liz-lemon

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One Comment

  1. Sharon Greene

    It is really hard finding long term stats for survival rates. And because they do group the 75 year old patient with the 29 year old patient, it is difficult to know what to make of the stats the longer term they are. I stumbled on some 25 year survival stats from my year of first diagnosis 1988. At that time, 2 years ago, only 15% of us were still alive. Oh. But then again, the 75 year old would be 100 in 25 years so may have died from any number of things. There are a lot less of us diagnosed at 29 or in our 30s so we may well make up a big percentage of that 15% survival rate but who can tell? They don’t even keep accurate stats for recurrences or early stage that later metastisizes so none of us really know our true prognosis. In this digital age, these stats should be collected for age, stage at first diagnosis, type of breast cancer, and account for recurrences, new primaries, and longevity passed the 5 year mark. This may be my next blog post. We know so much less than we think we know.

    Like

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