Monday, May 17, 2010

Cure or Cancer Free?

I got into a heated debate, well lets say argument with a friend of mine about doctors using the word cure.  Once again, I have to say  this is my personal opinion, which will, I am sure piss some people off. I get stubborn that way.  I have my own beliefs.  I am not saying they are right, they are just mine.  Like I was telling my friend.  This is only my opinion, you don't have to like it, and if everyone had the same opinion as me the world would be a pretty boring place.

I hate it when doctors use the word cure when describing cancer.  Let's be honest.  There is no cure, not for one tiny little variant strain of any cancer. I wish to God there was.  I wish all oncologists would be put out of business, but that is not the case.

My friend asked me why it bothered me so much, Here is why: THERE IS NO CURE FOR CANCER.  For me, my definition, cure means there is 100% chance that your cancer will not return.  No doctor can say that, because, well once again, no cure. 

After I argued with my friend, I googled cure for cancer, just to see what I would come up with. Couldn't find anything listed.  Now I hoped against all hopes that I was wrong, that I would see something  on oncolink or something posted from the New England Journal of Medicine. 


I am cancer free, that is what the surgeon told me when he removed the cancerous tumor from my body.  If I was cured, then I would have assumed there would have been no need for the months of chemo, radiation and targeted gene therapy afterwards.

But I went through all that, and I still take tamoxifen, and I will until 2012.  I still get blood tests and scans, and have appointments, and I still worry a little every time,  because I am not cured, but because I am cancer free. 

I will advocate, I will blog, I will keep on doing my podcast.

Until there's a cure.

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern standard time on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on available on demand and on itunes


  1. Dear Mel, as you prolly know we ALL have a millions of active cancer cells in our body that are DUMPED, and FLUSHED out daily. EXCEPT when we overwhelm our WBCs ability to do so. THEN, and only then do the cancer cells start to convert to anearobic status, and messing with your health.

    And the cancer cells do not form a tumor, it is your BODY, in its wisdom, which forms the tumor- of healthy cells, to corral the cancer cells, until it can figure out how to deal with them. If we all would eat right, and build our immune system then we help our body to never again need to form a tumor. And if we don't, then the body is left using what 'nutrition' it does get,(diet Coke, Cheetos, aspartame, Charred BBQ meat?) and doing the best it can.

    There are great resources.. the book "Cancer is Not a Disease", by Andreas Moritz is the best, most clear explanation I have found. Yet few know of it. And rarely do I see any doctor discussion about diet, foods, nutrition, supplements BEFORE we accept standard treatments. Bolstering our health BEFORE we let the surgeon cut, or pump the chemo in... now that is a way to help 'cure' ourselves of cancer. Permanently. See this great short article by a cancer fighter, Marsha Hudgens, on my blog:

  2. Awesome post, Mel. I think people often say "Cure" because they don't understand the reality and fear that most survivors face - recurrance.

    Marsha has an interesting point about diet, foods, nutrition and supplements... but I don't think that those can cure your body from any cancer recurrance. They can help to avoid it, right? But, cure? I don't think so.

  3. Mel,

    Setting my Positive Mental Attitude aside for a moment, I will definitely agree with you here. The term "cure" has a hidden meaning when being used to define outcome results for treatments. Essentially, it means someone who "appears to be disease-free" 5 years past the initial diagnosis date.

    As you know, I'm a 5-Time Cancer Survivor, spanning the last 10 years. Soooooo, according to the above definition, I've been "cured" several times. What a relief! ;-)

    Still, I encourage all your readers to develop their own uncrushable positive mental attitude towards their survival. Humans have much more control over their outcome than currently understood. Positive mental energy cause positive pysiological responses.

    Don Wilhelm, author
    "This Time's a Charm; Lessons of a Four-Time Cancer Survivor"

  4. I think Katie's right about fear. People want certainty about this thing that scares them - there's a tumor, it gets taken out. It's scary to think of random cells running around our bodies, possibly re-activating, possibly not.
    I always describe it as being more like a chronic condition than a cold (you get a cold, you get over a cold).

  5. I had someone interview me for some fitness mag. about my fitness work with cancer survivors. What he really wanted was for me to say that exercise cured my cancer. He wanted the slam dunk of someone who had cancer, started exercising a lot (I climbed Mt. Rainier 1yr after treatment), and was still healthy - and it was all because of the exercise. I refused to say that - there's no way to know what exactly has kept me apparently cancer free - and there's no such thing as "cure"! He ended up not using me because I wouldn't say I was cured by exercise (and maybe because I told him his premise was simplistic and wrong...).

  6. haha awesome Julie, yes no cure for cancer. Hoping for that one day though