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Outsmarting Cancer Cells

February 14, 2014
Mt. Olympus, August 2013. Photo by Colin Stapp.

Mt. Olympus, August 2013. Photo by Michelle Miller.

As too many of us know, cancer cells love to create havoc.  A friend of mine recently said the cancer cells will fight to survive and try to outlive everything else in their way.  Essentially, it is a fight to the death.  This isn’t so far off from the truth.  The game is to outplay, outwit and outlast them.  It is the other game of Survivor but in your body—not on a deserted island somewhere.

Cancer treatment is similar to the Hunger Games books and movie series.  For those not in the know, the Hunger Games is about a country that keeps its civilians in the non-revolutionary mode by drawing names of a boy and a girl, ages 12 to 18, from each of the districts within the city to fight in a duel to the death.  Yes, children.  They are trained to fight, they go to a location that is essentially like being on a movie set with all sorts of special effects, is televised to the public and do indeed fight to the death with one survivor left.  It does sound wild, and it is wild and shows how people will use their power to do evil as opposed to good.  The goal of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery (which at times seems like evil); is to create the one survivor:  The patient.  Cancer cells are smart, much like Katniss in the movie.  She was able to outplay the game, and win with her smart mind, keen eye and sharpshooting skills with a bow and arrow.  The job of researchers is to outwit the cancer cells, but those cells keep getting smarter, creating the need for deviations from the plan.

My friend is alive today because research has developed new methods of treatment and new medications.  She is outliving, outwitting and outlasting the cancer cells in her body.  My cousin, Robin, was not so fortunate.  A mere 5 years were between Robin’s diagnosis and my friend’s diagnosis and look what the difference in time has created.  A CT scan that once lit up like a Christmas tree is now dark and quiet because of the compassionate use of a new therapy that my friend received.  That therapy was not available a mere 3-4 years ago.

A new lease on life, priceless.

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