While I was at home in New Jersey for the holidays, my parents decided to reveal the fact that my grandpa was having a biopsy done. He had apparently found some suspiciously discolored skin, which his doctor suggested might be the result of melanoma. The whole family was surprised because nobody has a history of cancer. He spent many years habitually smoking cigarettes when he was younger.
Whatever he might have, isn’t it then probably due to lifestyle choice? My mom is most concerned about the treatments. She says we’ll need to get ready to see him without hair and possibly lose a reasonable amount of body weight. How true are all of this things? Are the side-effects still that bad?
It’s clear that your family has a lot of questions and concerns. In 2016, researchers estimated nearly 1.6 million new cases of cancer would be diagnosed and approximately 600,000 of the patients would die from the disease. There are countless families struggling to navigate the same confusion in search of answers. Unfortunately, nothing is set in stone without the results of the biopsy and a credible diagnosis from a medical expert.
That being said, knowledge is still a powerful factor in both a patient’s recovery and the coping abilities of loved ones. Your whole family might consider browsing these ten tips for caretakers. Some items might seem more obvious than others; the most important part is adjusting your mindset appropriately. If your grandpa ends up with a positive diagnosis confirming the presence of cancerous cells, that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world.
Writers at Scientific American published an insightful article about living with cancer, which explains eight broad categories to consider once the diagnosis is made. Chief among their findings is contextualizing the nature of the threat. It can be easy to assume all cancers are created equally and, therefore, pose an equal risk to victims. That’s fortunately not the case. Even more positive is the fact that the five-year survival rate for melanoma patients hovers slightly above 90%.
That statistic alone should keep your family optimistic, despite the overarching scenario. Leading cancer care is also widely available in the New Jersey and New York areas. In even the most desperate of cases, many patients can find ways to successfully manage their cancer as a chronic disease. In other words, advancements in holistic treatment and synthetic drug therapies mean that cancer isn’t a guaranteed death sentence.
There are seven existing approaches to treatment that fall into two broad categories: (1) surgery, and/or (2) therapy. Four options are classified as surgeries and vary in their levels of intervention: (i) Mohs micrographic, (ii) Excisional, (iii) Curettage, and (iv) Cryosurgery. You’re probably aware of two out of the remaining three options: (i) radiation, (ii) chemotherapy, and (iii) photodynamic therapy. Each approach has different pros and cons. The specific cancer type often determines the sequence and sometimes demands a combination of several methods.
Having a firm grasp of these details will translate into more productive interactions with your grandpa once he’s ready to share the diagnosis.
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” -- Thomas Edison