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5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer


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After doing an interview and video for LUNGevity I did one for "Thrive Magazine".  The author of that article decided to do 175 interviews and then took 35 of them to compile them into a book called; "I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It" by Savio P. Clemente.  My interview was one of the 35 chosen and following is a listing of the "5 Things" I listed as critical to survival.  The book is available at the usual places.

"5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer

1.  Get appropriate checks before you’re diagnosed with cancer.  You won’t develop cancer from a scan, but that scan can save your life.  My cancer was found from a kidney stone CT scan.  I was diagnosed as Stage 1a, went through surgery and have been cancer free or NED (No Evidence of Disease) for over two years.

2.  Learn about your disease.  I’m not saying to look for prognosis or longevity statistics as they are almost always averages and not the best data.  Rather, you should learn about the disease; what is it, what causes it, what protocols are considered “gold standard” as well as the testing that should occur during your diagnostic phase.  In my case, I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from my LUNGevity peers and that helped me to be a better advocate in my diagnosis and treatment.

3.  Make sure that your Primary Care Physician (PCP) is a good one.  Some folks only see their PCP now and then and may not have a great relationship or trust in their judgment.  This is the person who will likely help you to put together your cancer team (Oncologist, Surgeon, Pulmonologist, etc.)  In my case I had a pulmonologist and surgeon, but no oncologist.  My “tribe” at LUNGevity helped me to understand the importance of a full team and I made a change that helped me significantly going forward.  The oncologist was more specific and detailed in the testing he required during my post-surgery period.

4.  Don’t be a ‘tough guy or gal”.  This is a hard road to walk alone, and your family can only help you so much.  They try to empathize, and we appreciate their efforts but at the end of the day, they can’t fathom what we’re going through. It makes a world of difference to engage in conversations with people who are in the midst of their own battle with cancer or have survived the disease and can impart their knowledge of how to get the most out of your treatment with the least amount of side effects.   

5.  Choose to live (something one of my LUNGevity brothers preaches).  We all know that attitude is key in how our bodies resist disease and heals from injuries—and cancer is no different.  You need to be determined to live.  It may sound basic, but my initial reaction was to plan for my demise. After I found a support system, my pessimistic attitude changed and I increased my workouts to gain more strength, opened myself up to others about my disease so they would better understand, and started looking for ways to improve my overall health.  All this before I even had a final diagnosis.  

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