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Understanding what lies ahead

On March 28, 1978, the doctor told me that I had a malignancy. My lung cancer was inoperable. I should get my estate in order.

Two years later, the doctors told me I was totally cured. I have no more chance of a recurrence of lung cancer than anyone else on the street.

This book is being written for the benefit of any individual who has been diagnosed as having cancer or who has a friend or relative who has cancer. It will attempt to explain different stages and treatments of the disease as seen through the eyes of one who has gone through it.

It is not a series of medical stories. Everything in it is from personal experience. These are my feelings about, or my understanding of, what was happening.

It is my hope that there is something here that everyone will be able to relate to. Nothing is intended to be used as a comparison, because every case of cancer is different. Not only are there different types of cancers, but they are in different places, happening to people of different. ages, of different backgrounds and of different strengths and weaknesses. Each case of cancer is as unique as a fingerprint.

The reader should be able to better understand and empathize with what the person with a malignancy is going through and what that person can do to help himself. It is to show how important is good medical attention, how vital is prompt action, and how fundamental is a positive mental attitude.

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. Cancer cells are extremely small. One million cancer cells would be the size of the head of a pin. One billion, that is 1,000 million, would be the size of a small marble. These cells are weaker than healthy cells, but gain their strength because they multiply so readily.

There are six possible fundamental treatments or therapies used to cure cancer. They may be used individually or in any combination. They are:

* Surgery. The simple act of cutting out the tumor.

* Radiation therapy. Killing cancer cells with X rays.

* Chemotherapy. The use of chemicals to kill cancer cells.

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