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If You Are Diagnosed With Cancer, Know Your Prognosis

Updated on September 20, 2016
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Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger, and content creator.

Lung cancer cells
Lung cancer cells | Source

So the Doctor told you that you have been diagnosed with cancer. The first thing that may come to mind is that you are not going to make it. You are scared and you don't know where to start, what to do. Being diagnosed with cancer is not the end. Catching it early may give you a very good chance of recovery. Some cancers are treatable with medication and some can be operated on.

When you are diagnosed with cancer or any other kind of illness it's called a diagnosis. Your outlook and chances for recovery are known as your prognosis.

Let's look at what diagnosis and prognosis are before we go any further.


A diagnosis is when the doctor tells you what illness you have. So when your doctor says "you have been diagnosed with cancer", he is telling you your diagnosis. In any case, no matter what illness or disease you have, after running tests and doing several examinations the doctor will come to a determination as to what illness, disease or condition you have. Your type of illness or disease is your diagnosis. In many instances a team of several physicians will cover all the bases and come to a conclusion together, eliminating any doubts. When more than one physicians work together it is likely that nothing will be missed or a wrong diagnosis made. In the case of cancer patients or when it is suspected, your attending physician will most likely consult with others, especially an oncologist (cancer specialist) to make sure the tests are correct.


Many people use the two terms interchangeably causing confusion. Some people think they are one in the same. A prognosis is a prediction of how well you will do throughout your illness, your chances of recovery and so on. Your outlook depends on you most of the time, so from the onset where you are diagnosed with cancer it is best to start a positive thinking process to better your prognosis.

So a prognosis is an outlook and a diagnosis is the prescribed condition you are now in.

Considerations for your Prognosis

  1. When you are diagnosed with cancer, always ask your attending physician to explain to you what type of cancer you have. Knowing the type of cancer will help you determine diet, on site treatments (prescriptions and hospital), off site treatments (herbal or homeopathic help).
  2. Finding out the type of cancer will definitely lead you to ask how aggressive your cancer is, how fast it will spread and how it will affect your recovery.
  3. What stage your cancer is at. This will tell you how big the cancer is or which organs it has spread to and what other medical issues your cancer may be causing.

  4. Knowing all the above will aid you in determining how to handle your physical fitness and what will happen down the line in terms of your general fitness. Your age is also a determining factor in how much your fitness will stand up against your illness.

  5. Other medical illnesses not relating to or caused by the cancer that may affect your recovery
  6. Your mental, psychological and spiritual state of mind. This is where your faith and determination to fight the disease comes in.


The more you know about your illness the better chance of survival you have.

Your prognosis will help you and your loved ones to prepare for what's ahead. The outcome all depends on you, how you deal with the disease and how much you are willing to fight it.

This is just a prediction based on all the factors surrounding your illness, statistics of others with similar cancer situations and your personal will to live, but no one can predict the actual outcome.

There have been many situations where a doctor tells a patient that they may not make it past six months and that patient ends up living past sixty years.

Keeping a positive attitude, eating foods recommended to fight the disease and taking your prescribed treatments will see your chances greatly increased. Your state of mind may be your most powerful medicine yet!


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    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Susan, I hope you are doing much better now. I love your fighting spirit. Positive attitude is a big part of healing.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      When I was given the news that I had lung cancer all I thought was, Here we go again, put on the boxing gloves and fight for your life :)

    • AUPADHYAY profile image



    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Well then all the best for that Emerald.

    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Dear Emerald,

      What a wonderful way you had explained the myths of the cancer.

      being done this much I request you to add more information about the prognosis which you had started but missed going further. I will give a hind here and there.

      What type of cancer should be inquired with the concerned doctor.

      If it is Type-I then you really have around 90% curability because that is the initial stage.

      Then comes the middle stage, or Type-II, which is critical still you have a 50-50 chance,

      And if it is Type -III it is better to give a good quality of life to the patients before he is going to die in another 6months to 2 years.

      This is just an idea based on various cancer deaths happened in my family and also I being a medical man.

      In third stage even the cancerous growth will spread to nearby organs which will make difficult for the surgeons to do any surgery or give chemo which will have negligible effect on the cancer and more effect on the living cells thus deteriorating the patient to further sufferings.

      This spreading of the cancerous growth to other part is known as "METS".

      Any way I am sure many will get a real knowledge about the cancer and its myths around this and my friend Nadeeshan will also give his expert comment being an expert medical guy.

      I had voted this hub useful

      With warm regards

      Dinesh Nair

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      You explained this very well as if a mother teaching her child. Thanks for the information. I ve someone very dear to me going through this ugly process [breast cancer] thanks