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Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness

June is National Cancer Survivor Month.  It is a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing those who have survived cancer, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States, people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis.  The CDC reports that there are currently nearly 14 million Americans living with cancer and that about two out of every three people with cancer live at least five years after diagnosis. 

Cancer survivors are living longer after diagnosis because of advances in early detection and treatment, and improvements in medical and other health care services.  Though cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., it increasingly is becoming a chronic illness that can be treated and lived with.  

Because of the significant advances made in cancer care, now even when a cure is not possible, many cancers can be controlled and managed for long periods of time.  Many physicians consider patients being treated for some types of cancer as living with a chronic condition.  However, these patients require ongoing therapy or medicine to control their condition, much like people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Some cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, leukemia, and some lymphomas, can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes they never completely go away, and are considered a chronic or ongoing illness.  Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers.  

For people living with cancer, the cancer may be controlled with treatment, meaning it might seem to go away or stay the same.  The cancer may not grow or spread as long as you’re getting treatment. Sometimes when treatment shrinks the cancer, you can take a break until the cancer starts to grow again.  But in either of these cases the cancer is still there, it doesn’t go away and stay away, and it’s not cured. 

Being diagnosed with cancer or battling cancer for a second time can be scary.  Austin CyberKnife understands and is here to help.  With state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology, and a dedicated team of physicians and staff who are experienced in treating patients with stereotactic radiation therapy, Austin CyberKnife delivers quality care in a compassionate manner. 

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please contact Austin CyberKnife today.