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Journey for Life

Journey for LifeEach patient and every journey is unique and will depend on where you are at the start of your journey. Parkland’s Cancer Program is designed to help you through your journey, no matter where you start. Many cancers are curable, and many others can be managed through treatments and support to help you continue to live a high-quality life.

Education and Prevention
Not all cancers are preventable.  However prevention is something that starts before receiving a cancer diagnosis. Education and prevention is important in reducing specific risk of for some cancers. Education can be extremely important for family members who may be at risk for those cancers that are hereditary.

Diagnosis
Cancer is not always easy to diagnose. A cancer diagnosis may require several test and visits with many physician specialists. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your oncologist (cancer doctor) will explain your options and begin to put together a treatment plan to provide you with the best options for your cancer type and cancer stage.

Staging
Staging is a classification system, helping to categorize the cancer based on location, growth, and whether or not the cancer has metastasis to other body parts. With this system, the stage can be 0, I, II, III, or IV. A stage 0 tumor is confined to just the tumor itself, which is called carcinoma in situ. Stage I cancers are confined to a particular part of the body, and stages II and III are locally advanced. Stage IV usually indicates that the cancer has metastasized, meaning that the cancer has spread to other organs in the body. Lower stages of cancer usually are associated with higher rates of survival. However, staging is only one tool that clinicians may use.

Treatment
The most common treatments for cancers are surgeries, chemotherapies and radiation therapies. There are different surgical procedures, chemotherapy drug protocols and radiations therapies specific to the affected body organ and cancer type. Some cancers are treatment with more than one therapy. Some patients begin cancer treatment immediately following diagnosis. Some cancers are slow growing and your physician might suggest observing, which is what we call watchful waiting. This means your condition will be monitored over time before deciding if treatment should be started.

Survivorship
Nearly 12 million cancer patients are alive today after diagnosis and treatment. Some are cancer free, while others may be living with cancer. Life after cancer can be challenging. Cancer therapies may cause long term problems that require close watch and monitoring over a long period of time after treatment. Even after long periods of time, cancers can reoccur. Survivorship is a program to design to help patients after treatment.

End of Life
Not all cancers can be cured. Dying is a personal journey and a time where personal preferences can make a difference. The goal of End of Life Care is to assist patients and families to cope during this time; balancing hope with reality for end of life decision making. This is a time where listening, supporting and assisting patient and families in setting realistic expectations to help define end of life care, maintaining a sense of control and dignity.

 

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