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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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