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Frequent Questions  - when diagnosed with Cancer

Usual questions asked -

  • where is the cancer

  • how  much cancer is present

  • how aggressive is the cancer

  • how far the cancer has spread

  • how has the cancer affected the patient's physical condition.

  • whether there is any effective treatment for the cancer

  • what is the cost of treatment - surgery, DXRT, chemotherapy, "new" drugs.


And common medical terms used to describe cancer -

  • primary - where the cancer arises from

  • metastases  - where the cancer has spread

  • stage  - how far the cancer has spread (e.g. stage 4 - widespread)

  • low malignancy  - less aggressive,  takes a long time to reach an a advanced stage            

  • high malignancy - aggressive, disease rapidly reaches a terminal stage


Medical terms are usually confusing to the lay person, and very often cause misunderstanding of the disease, treatment options and prognosis.

Ultimately what's most important to a patient newly diagnosed with cancer is -

  • Is the cancer "treatable" in its present stage.

  • If "treatment" is possible, what are the expected results of treatment in terms of life span and quality of life.  And also what are the side effects of treatment

  • If "treatment" is not possible (or the patient does not want treatment), what will happen with respect to life span and quality of life. (i.e.  pain and other sufferings)

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