2. "Over the last decade, the standard criteria for relapse, or biochemical failure, after radiation has been the consensus definition of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology"
- Patrick C. Walsh, Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer
3. "A St. Louis oncology nurse quoted Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl to States News Service in 2012: ‘What is to give light must endure burning.’ I think people who care for others understand. Caregiving is painful."
- Alexandra Robbins, The Nurses: A Year of Secrets
4. "As a recent editorial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology put it: "What we must first remember is that the immune system is designed to detect foreign invaders, and avoid out own cells. With few exceptions, the immune system does not appear to recognize cancers within an individual as foreign, because they are actually part of the self."
- Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
5. "Men wanted to be strong. One way to be strong was to be knowledgeable. In so many areas, it was not possible to be knowledgeable without getting a Ph.D. and doing a postdoc. Guns and hunting provided an out for men who wanted to be know-it-alls but who couldn't afford to spend the first three decades of their lives getting up to speed on quantum mechanics or oncology."
- Neal Stephenson, Reamde
6. "A landmark 2010 study from the Massachusetts General Hospital had even more startling findings. The researchers randomly assigned 151 patients with stage IV lung cancer, like Sara’s, to one of two possible approaches to treatment. Half received usual oncology care. The other half received usual oncology care plus parallel visits with a palliative care specialist. These are specialists in preventing and relieving the suffering of patients, and to see one, no determination of whether they are dying or not is required. If a person has serious, complex illness, palliative specialists are happy to help. The ones in the study discussed with the patients their goals and priorities for if and when their condition worsened. The result: those who saw a palliative care specialist stopped chemotherapy sooner, entered hospice far earlier, experienced less suffering at the end of their lives—and they lived 25 percent longer. In other words, our decision making in medicine has failed so"
- Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
7. "An oncology ward is a battlefield, and there are definite hierarchies of command. The patients, they're the ones doing the tour of duty. The doctors breeze in and out like conquering heroes, but they need to read your child's chart to remember where they've left off from the previous visit. It is the nurses who are the seasoned sergeants -- the ones who are there when your baby is shaking with such a high fever she needs to be bathed in ice, the ones who can teach you how to flush a central venous catheter, or suggest which patient floor might still have Popsicles left to be stolen, or tell you which dry cleaners know how to remove the stains of blood and chemotherapies from clothing. The nurses know the name of your daughter's stuffed walrus and show her how to make tissue paper flowers to twine around her IV stand. The doctors may be mapping out the war games, but it is the nurses who make the conflict bearable."
- Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper
8. "I was in my early forties the first time I visited an oncology ward for terminal patients. I was apprehensive, as I was going to the front lines of a battle the our culture labors mightily to keep hidden, but I needed to visit a friend. I did not expect that the ward would be an apocalypse in the literal sense of the word--an unmasking or uncovering. The intensity of misery was overwhelming, yet it did not frighten or repel me, for I had entered holy ground. People my own age, as well as the elderly, were shockingly frail and needed support just to totter down the hall. Still, they were alive, and walking, saying their goodbyes to friends, children, and grandchildren. What struck me was that the atmosphere was not merely one of sadness, but also one of beauty deepened by the sobering inevitability of death, and blessed by the presence of vibrant love. While the relentless activity of New York City surrounded us, here everything unessential had been stripped away. Only life remained, a"
- Quote by Kathleen Norris
9. "Things changed after that between me and Mark. I stopped being mortified that people might mistake me for one of his acolytes. I was his Boswell, don’t you know. I interviewed him about his childhood—his father was a psychiarist in Beverly Hills. I cataloged the contents of his van. I followed him around at work, sitting in while he examined patients. He had been a bit of a prodigy when we were in college. After his father developed a tumor, Mark, who was pre-med, started studying cancer with an intensity that convinced many of his friends that his goal was to find a cure in time to save his father. As it turned out, his father didn’t have cancer. But Mark kept on with his cancer studies. His interest was not in fact in oncology—in finding a cure—but in cancer education and prevention. By the time he entered medical school, he had created, with another student, a series of college courses on cancer and coauthored The Biology of Cancer Sourcebook, the text for a course that was"
- William Finnegan, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
10. "It’s normally agreed that the question How are you? doesn’t put you on your oath to give a full or honest answer. So when asked these days, I tend to say something cryptic like, A bit early to say. (If it’s the wonderful staff at my oncology clinic who inquire, I sometimes go so far as to respond, I seem to have cancer today.) Nobody wants to be told about the countless minor horrors and humiliations that become facts of life when your body turns from being a friend to being a foe: the boring switch from chronic constipation to its sudden dramatic opposite; the equally nasty double cross of feeling acute hunger while fearing even the scent of food; the absolute misery of gut–wringing nausea on an utterly empty stomach; or the pathetic discovery that hair loss extends to the disappearance of the follicles in your nostrils, and thus to the childish and irritating phenomenon of a permanently runny nose. Sorry, but you did ask... It’s no fun to appreciate to the full the truth of the"
- Christopher Hitchens, Mortality