My feeling about anyone pushing a statistic ad nauseam? Take a step back and analyze. When the same words are parroted over and over again.... and crammed down our throats so frequently that people begin to blindly repeat those words, someone has an agenda. Using the statistic is a way to skew information to punctuate the agenda. I make no apologies for stating this as a fact.
Here's my beef. And lamb and chicken and tofu, too.
Presently, I am six and a half years NED. No evidence of disease. Well yay, me. I passed that magical five year mark. And THAT is the statistic that has been running through my semi frozen brain over these past several days. You see, I'd like some clarification of that particular little nugget of information. That marker that is seen as The Holy Grail in Cancerland.
In 1987, when my mom was diagnosed with her first round of breast cancer, at the ten year mark she was declared NED. I don't know what terminology was used but the politically correct verbiage in 2013 is NED. So I will stick with NED. She is included in the five year statistic. Fast forward to 2007 and she does Breast Cancer Round Two. And once again, she passed the five year mark. And this is my problem.
Is my mom being counted twice? She's only one person but counting her twice makes the statistic look better, doesn't it? And what about now? Less than six months after hitting that magic marker, she is metastatic. Shouldn't she be removed from this statistic now that she is back in active treatment? I say yes. Keeping her in that "five year survival" statistic is a gross misrepresentation of the reality of the numbers.
In fact, I can think of plenty of friends who progressed AFTER the five year mark and I can think of plenty of others who progressed BEFORE the five year mark, hit the magic five years while being treated for metastatic disease and they too, are "five year survivors."
Is the information accurate? Yes. Am I thrilled and overjoyed that my friends are here? You BET. But some are doing quite well and others are have a very rough time. Can someone please dig up a few REAL statistics for me? Namely: those who are NED and those who are in active treatment because their cancer has recurred or progressed. Better yet, can we lose that five year survival stat completely. How about, NED at five years? At six years? Seven? How about we quote NED all the way up to ten years?
Personally, I think that statistic needs to be restated to reflect reality because the accurate statistic is painting a distorted picture. And the distorted picture is fueling this illusion of something that is not real. Statistical accuracy does not equate to reality of circumstances and quite frankly, I find that to be a bit disillusioning.
And very disingenuous.