The question is: what steps would you take if given a dire cancer prognosis? This is a question that I have lived through with both of my parents. In one year, during my second year of high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and my father was told he had prostate cancer. Needless to say, it was a rough year.
My mother’s diagnosis was devastating. She had found a lump in her breast and went to the doctor’s to see what could be done. Everyone felt that this was a death sentence. Luckily, when they did the biopsy, they were able to eliminate the need for a radical mastectomy and prepare her for a lumpectomy. Her surgery went very well. They came away with very clean margins and the cancer had not spread to any of her lymph nodes. The year that followed included a series of chemotherapy (with the inherent hair loss) and a full series of radiation therapy. But, in the end, when she had persevered, she was cancer-free.
Within a few months of the end of my mother’s treatments, my father was scheduled for a needle biopsy, due to an elevated PSA rating and a family history of prostate cancer. The biopsy showed that my father had prostate cancer, but that they had caught it very early. He met with a cancer specialist who informed him that when he spoke with his surgeon, the doctor would promote the varied forms of surgery used to combat prostate cancer, but that he was an excellent candidate for seed implantation therapy. When my father met with his surgeon, true to form, the doctor did encourage my father to consider the surgery options. When the discussion switched to the seed implantation option, it was determined that all options would be equally successful, but the seed implantation therapy would only keep my father out of work for a day, and it was, obviously, much less invasive.
Having lived through these times with my parents, I realize that if I am ever faced with a dire cancer prognosis, I am going to pursue the advice of my primary physician (regarding the most current protocols), but I will do as my parents did and research other, non-mainstream therapies as well. In this day and age, when scientific advances are being made daily, it seems only prudent to extend one’s quest for knowledge and choices to all pertinent avenues. Mr. O’Connor did this and it extended his life by six years.
By: Driscoll, Patrick C.