Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?

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Patients Cancer

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• Community manager
Posted on

Hello Carenity members,

In thinking about cancer and reading about recent health articles, it dawned on me that it seems that "survivor" is a term used for those recovering/defeating cancer... cancer survivor. For example, people who have survived a heart attack are not deemed heart attack survivors or people who overcome diabetes or any other ailment, HIV, etc., are not termed "survivor".

I feel survivor is a very powerful word and, has a deep meaning of someone who is strong and overcome the toughest obstacle... a word that rightfully describes those who recover/defeat cancer. However, I am interested in hearing your opinions on the use of the word in relation to cancer.

Do you use it as a word to describe yourself? 

Do you think there is a stigma attached to one saying they were diagnosed with cancer?

Where do you think use of the word came from?

I look forward to your opinions and views.

Beginning of the discussion - 10/3/18

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I will be cancer free this Oct, 25th to be exact ? I call myself a survivor and people call me a survivor. At times I feel like a fraud when I use that term because I agree with you 100%, it makes me think of someone who is incredibly strong and got through something difficult. When I went through chemo and several surgeries I was very strong, I put one foot in front of the other and did exactly what my doctors told me to do. Not once did I go on the internet and do research. I just had my last surgery on July 25th. Now is when I am finding myself struggling emotionally. Trying to wrap my brain around what I have been through. My hair is growing back and I am trying to figure out who the new me is. I don’t feel strong at all right now so at times it’s tough for me to use that word to describe myself.

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?

• Community manager
Posted on

@Lisalinn99‍ so glad to hear that you beat cancer! I know what you mean to an extent on a different level.... I just recently have looked back on everything that I have been through (I have been studying so hard for 4 years straight and over 12 operations) and finally everything is slowing down. It hits you, it sure does.

But you are a survivor and very much happy for you. I am sure as time continues to pass each day you will become more and more stronger with everything.

All the best!

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I am uncomfortable with the term “survivor”.  I allowed myself to believe it applied to me with three years of NED, then a reoccurrence occurred this spring.  Research has led me to believe that the previous chemotherapy managed to kill off “daughter” tumor cells, and was ineffective in killing the stem cancer cells; in fact may have made them more resistant and aggressive.

I will now be following the dietary and lifestyle protocol recommended in chrisbeatcancer.com as a rational approach to managing this condition.  BTW, Chris is a 15 year “survivor” of colorectal cancer and is a pathfinder in studies of scientific evidence of the value of nutrigenic approaches to dealing with cancer.

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?

• Community manager
Posted on

@brazie‍ thank you for sharing. I am sorry to hear that the cancer came back; is that why you feel uncomfortable using the term survivor? 

Are you undergoing any treatments in addition to the protocol followed on the above website? 

Also thank you for posting brief information about the protocol; others may find it very helpful.

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I was diagnosed with colon cancer went thru surgery had removed quite a large tumor and over a foot of right as ascending colon that completely blocked colon they found cancer cells in blood vessels but not lymph noids they said cancer was a very aggressive type but chemo would not due me much good as preventative treatment this is second cancer for me 11 years ago had prostrate cancer I don’t consider myself a survivor did not go thru hell of treatments like most of you. I feel for all of you and prayers are with you 

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I am still continuing with chemotherapy, reduced CEA from 12.3 to 3.6. PET scan showed “mixed” results with reduction in two sites, and no reduction in a third.

Last round of chemotherapy had very bad side effects.  Uncontrollable diarrhea, severe dehydration, blood pressure instability, mouth sores, and massive weight loss, a lot of it lean tissue mass.

After 6 week rest, was infused with 5FU and ironstone.  Oncologist waiting to see how I tolerate before adding in oral meds.

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I generally relate the word survivor  with being past the scare of cancer, healthy despite of and tests coming back clean. 

But actually I think the word relates to all of us. We are all a survivor of something. Be it molestation, obesity, health issues, addiction, etc. I think a survivor means HAPPY. Having happiness in the deepest part of your heart and soul. That’s a survivor, even if you have full blown terminal, critical cancer. And I do feel that peace and happiness is possible in such a situation. 

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

@IzzyBee‍ You are correct! Excellent way to put it. I think I am a survivor, but as you, I think everyone is a survivor in their own department!

Cancer "survivor": How do you feel about this term?


Posted on

I personally dislike the word survivor. For me it says that the fight is over, I am recovered and back to normal. For many of us there is long-term damage both physically and mentally.  For many of us, there is also the constant fear of reoccurrence.  My cancer has a high recurrence and metastasis rate.  I will never consider myself a cancer survivor, I will always be fighting.  I prefer the term cancer warrior. 

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