How To Live With Metastatic Disease

February 5, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Don Dizon

Dr. Dizon shared the PRO (Pragmatic, Realistic, Optimistic) Approach to living with metastatic disease. 

Pragmatic – This perspective is practical and not based on emotion. It’s important for your treatment team to know that they can’t treat cancer in isolation. They need to consider your life outside of the doctor’s office. You are more than your breast cancer. Try to look at your options and make decisions based on the following factors:

•    What level of toxicity are you able to tolerate?
•    What level of inconvenience and interference in your life are you prepared to accommodate?
•    What compromise to your quality of life are you prepared to relinquish?

Realistic – It’s important to respond to your situation based on reality, specifically, based on what we currently know about living with metastatic disease.

•    Prepare for uncertainty.
•    Create an advanced care plan.
•    Grieve the life you may lose.
•    Take control of fear.
•    Educate and prepare your family and friends.
•    Accept help when it is needed.
•    Don’t cede who you are and live the life you want to live under the circumstances.

Optimistic – You are all survivors. Oncology is evolving and the medical field is learning to target and treat cancer with more precision. Women with cancer are living longer and there are new developments on the horizon. Be proactive about demanding better care.  Optimism is at the heart of clinical trials. It’s important to NEVER abandon hope.

•    Hope your treatment will work.
•    Hope that treatment won’t be worse than the disease.
•    Hope that your cancer does not progress.
•    Hope that you and cancer can co-exist.
•    Hope that you will live through cancer and beyond cancer.


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