What Would I Do If I Was Diagnosed With Cancer?
What is cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute (2009), cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through blood and lymph systems. Cancer is just not one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start, for example (cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma).
Every type of cancer begins in cells of the body’s basic unit of life. Understanding cancer is helpful to know what happens to normal cells before they become cancer cells. Our bodies are made up of many types of cells. The cells in our bodies grow and divide in a controlled manner so that more cells can be produced to keep our bodies healthy. Once our cells become old and damaged, they are replaced by new cells. There are times when this process goes wrong. When the genetic material (which we call DNA) of our cells that can become damaged or changed can produce mutations that can affect the normal cell growth and division. As this process happens, our cells that do not die like they should produce new cell forms in which the body does not need these cells. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue which is called a tumor. As we know not all tumors are cancerous; they can be malignant or benign. The benign tumor is not cancerous. These are often removed and do not come back in most cases. This type of tumor does not spread to other parts of the body. The malignant tumor is the cancerous one. These tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. When the cancer spreads through the one body part to another body part is called metastasis. There are some cancers that do not form tumors, an example of this is leukemia, and this is cancer of the bone marrow and blood. (National Cancer Institute, n.d.)
What would I do if I was diagnosed with cancer? First thing I would do is probably cry and ask myself how could this happen? Then I would ask my doctor what type of cancer do I have? My doctor would say you have a stomach cancer. I would also ask if this cancer is malignant or benign. The doctor would then tell me it is malignant. How can we tell what type of cancer I have? There are tests that can be done. We will have to do some blood tests and get some x-rays. We will do some CT scans and an MRI. Once we find out what type of cancer you have we will take a biopsy. After all the tests are done I am told that I have Mesothelioma. I thought I had some sort of stomach virus. Can it be cured? There is no cure for Mesothelioma. What kind of treatment will there be? First I want you to go see an oncologist for your treatment. He/she will be able to tell you what type of treatment. If it cannot be cured how long do I have to live? With this type of cancer you may live eight months or you can live a year. Are there places where I can go that might give me more time? The doctor will say that there are cancer centers that have had a lot of success with treating mesothelioma where a person has lived up to five years. Please try and keep records on the medical treatment that you will receive. The next thing I would do after leaving the doctor’s office is sit down with my family and tell them that I have cancer and that I am not expected to live. I will tell them how long I have to be on this great earth and then make plans for the rest of my life. I would tell them that the type of cancer that the doctor told me that I have is mesothelioma. It is a malignant tumor which is growing in the mesothelium. I would explain that it is in the sac lining of my internal body cavities. I am told that I have peritoneal mesothelioma. This is cancer of the abdominal lining of my body. I know there are going to be questions how I got this disease or cancer. I will explain that I was exposed to asbestos and now that I am older it has decided to rear its ugly head.
What is Mesothelioma? Malignant Mesothelioma is a disease in which a cancerous tumor grows on the mesothelioma-the sac lining of the internal body cavities. The specific type of mesothelioma is named for the tissue where the cancer started. (Mesotheliomaweb, n.d.)
My next step would be to do some research to see if there have been survivors of the cancer. I would check to see if there were any support groups for the type of cancer that I have been diagnosed with. I would look for clinical trials with the hope that they have some sort of cure in sight for the cancer. In my research I would find the definition of the type of cancer and educate all my friends and relatives about the type of cancer I have. I would not leave a stone unturned until I have exhausted everything that I could do to fight this cancer. I am not the type of person to sit there and let something like cancer get me down no matter whether it could be cured or not. I am a fighter.
There is cancer in my family but I was never told what type of cancer it was. My uncle on my father’s side had gotten cancer when he fell and hurt his back at least that was what I was told. One of my aunts on my mother’s side also had cancer but again I was never told what type. I know when I went to visit her in England with my mother I saw lumps on her arms. Cancer was never really discussed in our family. I do not know if I will inherit any types of cancer but I do know if I am ever diagnosed with it I will do my best to try and find a way to help cure this cancer. I hope sometime in the future there will be no type of disease or cancer in this world. I also hope that they do find a cure for Mesothelioma. Science has come a long way and I know that one day they will find a cure for every disease out there.
References National Cancer Institute, (n. d.). What is Cancer? Retrieved February 01, 2010. Mesothelioma (n.d.). About Mesothelioma. Retrieved February 01, 2010.
By: Jeanette, Diane F.