Cancer Diagnosis: Carenity Members Tell Their Story
Published Jan 25, 2019 • Updated May 6, 2020 • By Louise Bollecker
Our members affected by cancer have told the story of their diagnosis! Symptoms, emotions, examinations, relationships with their doctors, treatments... read their story of diagnosis.
Carenity survey of 143 cancer patients in the United States.
Less than 74% of patients waited less than a year for their diagnosis and consulted 2 doctors before reaching their diagnosis.
On average, cancer patients take a little over a year to get the right diagnosis. During this period, respondents said that they experienced different symptoms. These symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer the patient has:
Tender breasts| Constipation | Fatigue | Persistent cough | Stomach pain | Heavy or irregular menstrual cycle | Fever | Weight loss | Vomiting | Dizziness
However, many patients didn’t notice any symptoms at all.
Before the diagnosis: the impact of Cancer
What aspects of the patient's daily life have been affected by these symptoms?
Chronic fatigues- 52%
Love life - 50%
Hobbies and activities - 44%
Family life - 43%
Chronic pain - 31%
Social life - 29%
Professional life - 24%
The majority of respondents reported that having chronic fatigue was the biggest impact on their daily life before the diagnosis. Fortunately, 43% of respondents reported only one impact on their daily lives so it shows that a lot of cancer patients found their treatment very difficult but manageable.
Being diagnosed with cancer: hopeful results
Cancer has regularly been promoted as a major national cause and this has promoted healthcare professionals to take action. These efforts have paid off as 87% of patients did not have a misdiagnosis before discovering their cancer.
Before diagnosis, only 36% of patients did their own research on the Internet. Many respondents didn’t try any alternative therapies for their cancer, such a homeopathy, with only 15% having responded positively.
The shock of the diagnosis
How did patients react to their diagnosis?
It wasn’t a shock, I was expecting it - 38%
It was horrifying - 29%
It was brutal - 28%
It was a relief - 26%
I didn’t feel anything in particular - 22%
Finding out that you have cancer is a scary event but surprisingly, 38% said they were expecting it while 8% of patients can’t remember how they felt at all.
The role of doctors and healthcare professionals
The role of the healthcare professional making the diagnosis is key. Sometimes patients do not feel sufficiently listened to or informed about their condition. The good news is that the majority of Carenity members felt that their doctor took their time telling about their cancer diagnosis whilst also being calm and emphatic. The main problem members found with their doctor was the feeling that they didn’t care and they were cold and distant delivering the diagnosis.
Some comments from respondents said their doctor was “awesome” and a “massive support to both myself and my family” while another respondent noted that they felt like the whole thing was just a financial transaction, “he left me with the feeling it was all about money”. Fortunately, over all the majority of respondents were positive about their doctors.
55% - The doctor took the time to explain
55% - The doctor was very calm
48% - The doctor was very emphatic
17% - The doctor offered offered psychological support
17% - They were cold and distant
10% - They looked like they didn’t care
9% - They were too fast explaining
7% - They used cold and scientific language
The patient's struggle when facing cancer
Unlike some diseases with a very long and painful journey to be being diagnosed, learning that you have cancer is not a relief: only 26% of patients have felt comforted by the diagnosis. 63% of our members felt a great deal of anxiety, 29% were lost and confused while 19% expressed despair following this announcement.
On the other hand, 62% felt determined to fight the disease and 19% had confidence for the future.
Cancer is a disease that causes real concern for patients but the cancer diagnosis has been rapid and not very often does a mosdiagnosis occur.
From the overall results, it appears that the majority of patients were very happy with their care, felt confident in their ability to fight the disease and do feel hopeful for the future
We would like to thank all patients who took the time to complete our survey, thus highlighting the realities of being diagnosed with cancer... In fact, with their experiences, our members have ideas for improving cancer diagnosis!
And what is your story?
Let's share our experiences and that of our loved ones in the comments on this article to improve diagnosis and help cure cancer!