Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness

June is National Cancer Survivor Month.  It is a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing those who have survived cancer, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States, people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis.  The CDC reports that there are currently nearly 14 million Americans living with cancer and that about two out of every three people with cancer live at least five years after diagnosis. 

Cancer survivors are living longer after diagnosis because of advances in early detection and treatment, and improvements in medical and other health care services.  Though cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., it increasingly is becoming a chronic illness that can be treated and lived with.  

Because of the significant advances made in cancer care, now even when a cure is not possible, many cancers can be controlled and managed for long periods of time.  Many physicians consider patients being treated for some types of cancer as living with a chronic condition.  However, these patients require ongoing therapy or medicine to control their condition, much like people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Some cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, leukemia, and some lymphomas, can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes they never completely go away, and are considered a chronic or ongoing illness.  Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers.  

Being diagnosed with cancer or battling cancer for a second time can be scary.  The Radiation Oncology Services at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) understands and are here to help.  With highly advanced cancer treatment technology, and a dedicated team of physicians and staff who are experienced in treating patients with stereotactic radiation therapy, the Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC delivers quality care in a compassionate manner. 

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please contact the Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC today.