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Cancer – Therapy Timeline

February 8, 2021


“One of the things that get a little tricky when it comes to trying to determine a stage of a cancer or a solid tumor is when and what the tumor is, to define it. And by that, what I mean is in testicular cancer, if you have testicular cancer that has gone to your lungs, most people, and this really applies to physicians as well or other people in the medical community, they may consider that stage four or incurable. And this gets difficult in times when people are acutely ill, because unfortunately a lot of times measures are evaluated with thinking about how long that person has to live. Well, testicular cancer, interestingly enough, does not have a stage four, even if it’s in the lungs, even though if it was any other solid tumor in the lungs that metastasized there, it would be stage four.

The reason it’s not is because it is very responsive to chemotherapy. The flip side also exists where you can have a stage four A, for example, head and neck cancer, where somebody saw it on paper and a doctor or surgeon may say, well, you have stage four cancer. I don’t know if we should do this measure to, you know, improve your swallowing, et cetera, because you know, you have a finite amount of time to live. Well, really four A and head and neck is still curative intent, as well as like lymphomas, for example. So staging gets tricky and I think it gets dangerous when people are trying to have an idea of what to pursue or how to manage something. They’re just looking at the stage alone. I always encourage patients to talk to their oncologist to say kind of what are the expectations on how long one can, you know, live, survive, or even be cured of this disease process? And if not, when can therapy or how long can therapy last for.”

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