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Cancer is death. It is death in its worst form. It does not just stop you in your tracks like being shot, but it takes over your body little by little till there is nothing but the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to modern medicine and the luck of catching it early, death is, on occasion, left in the waiting room for his next victim to arrive.

The most common cancer with the highest mortality rate is lung cancer, killing over 1 million people a year worldwide according to the World Health Organisation. This article is not to show people that smoking is bad for you or if you do this it may or may not lead to cancer. This article is purely about dealing with cancer in the family.

Cancer is known in the medical world as a malignant neoplasm, which to some may sound like a cacophony of sound, but when looked into further one will find that these two words mean that your life will change for good. Not only in the sense that a group of dormant cells in your body have decided to wake up and multiply forming tumours and invading other ‘clean’ parts of the body. It also means that visits to hospitals become more frequent, tubes and needles are being prodded into the person as if they are a tailor’s needle cushion, diet and exercise needs to be regulated.  That is just the start of the lengthy process. People in the immediate family find it painful to deal with such a situation and many questions crop up. Do you try alternative? Do you let the person come to terms with it or will they know when their time has come?

As I am not someone studying the medical profession I can only put this in simple terms. A person with cancer can have it in a number of stages from 1 -4 known as the TNM system for solid tumours, which stands for Tumour, Node and Metastasis. The staging system is different for different types of cancers. The higher the number, there is greater probability that the tumours have spread and the less time the person will have on this earth. This does not mean that a person with stage 1 cannot move up to a stage 4, however someone with stage 4 diagnosis can not go down a stage.

Every case is different as are the people dealing with it, “My husband has been coping with cancer for a long time. Now that the cancer is progressing, I’m learning that his needs are changing, and so are mine. We’re facing new issues, and it’s hard,” Vera, a woman whose husband is battling cancer was quoted as saying.

It is hard to see someone who you have looked up to for so long withering away in front of you with no hope of survival and all you can ask is, “how are you feeling today?”


English: Gross appearance of the cut surface o...
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