When Found Early Doesn't Translate Into Early Action

Screening Saves Lives. We’re bombarded with the message. Colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer, cervical cancer, you name it cancer, heart tests, blood cholesterol tests, on and on… so long as we screen we catch it early and we survive. For better or worse, that is the message seared into my cells.

With so much cancer in our family, my siblings and I live by the message, or we try. We get screened and then some, and silly us, we expect the doctors to follow up and do their part. What good it is if upon discovering a tumor due to proactive screening, you can’t even get a return phone call from the doctor some 2 months down the road!?

In November of last year, my sister learned she has a neuroendocrine tumor in her pancreas, due to proactive screening. We were both stunned and relieved. Stunned to learn she has a tumor, relieved that screening will have saved her life by catching it early. Silly us, we thought that finding it early would translate into addressing it early and effectively. After all, she didn’t get her screening tests done at just any place. No, she went to John Hopkins, claimed to be the Gold Standard in pancreatic cancer detection, research and treatment.

They found the tumor alright, and for that she and we are deeply grateful. Like anyone and everyone diagnosed with cancer, my sister is more than anxious to get that tumor out by just about any means necessary, but despite numerous calls to John Hopkins, the last of which turned into sobbing pleas to consult with her doctor regarding scheduling her surgery, she was told he still was not available, following which he will be gone for a week. We’re talking 2 months now since they found the tumor, and still no date for surgery after being told that John’s Hopkins tends to treat these types of tumors “aggressively.” While she may not be the sickest or most urgent case they have on their scheduling desk, the fact remains that she does have a cancerous pancreatic tumor!

Now if that’s the Gold Standard, I just might have my medals confused. Or at minimum, we’re definitely not talking Gold Standard compassion for patients. Screening might save lives, but I think there’s more to that recipe for survival. That little old tumor found through screening is attached to a sentient human being. Please don’t forget us. Please don’t forget my sister.

Susan Beausang, 4Women.com

Blog Category: 

More Articles

More Articles

This article looks at the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma survival rate as well as the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma mortality rate ....

The term NK T cell lymphoma refers to one of two subtypes of lymphoma that affect the NK (Natural Killer)...

Canine lymphoma is a fairly common cancer in American dogs. The most commonly seen lymphoma in America is a type called Lymphosarcoma, although...

Prednisone is a glucocorticosteroid (a steroid) used in the treatment of many types of cancers. It functions as an anti-inflammatory medicine that...

Marginal zone lymphomas (MZL) are indolent lymphomas that affect the B-cells. The...

Large Cell Lymphoma (LCL) is typically an aggressive (fast growing) cancer of either the B cell or T cell type. They are one of the most common...

A B cell is a type of lymphocyte that produces antibodies to fight infections. These are the most prevalent lymphocytes in the bloodstream and are...

Aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHLs) are fast growing cancers (as opposed to indolent cancers). They involve...

A lymphoma prognosis varies greatly depending on the type of lymphoma. There are more than 35 types of lymphoma, including 5 types of...

What causes lymphoma is not well known. DNA mutations may be what causes lymphoma to develop but what triggers these mutations is...

Often the one who makes the first diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma / Disease is the person affected. There are some...

Lymphedema is abnormal swelling due to the presence of excess lymphatic fluid within the tissues. This swelling occurs when the...

RICE is an acronym for an anti-cancer treatment that expresses a combination chemotherapeutic regimen. This regimen is written variously as "R+ICE...

Hodgkin's Disease—also referred to as Hodgkin's Lymphoma, these are the exact same diseases, just...

Lymphoma is a cancer affecting the white blood cells (lymphocytes) of the body's immune system. The cells begin to grow abnormally and much faster...