In 2006, PAMF's Cancer Care Committee invited a group of breast and prostate cancer patients to speak at an in-service panel attended by physicians, nurses and staff on the subject of cancer care and survivorship. The committee was so impressed and touched by the sharing of these personal stories that it decided to invite two patients to join the committee and shift its focus to survivorship.
The following patients were part of those initial presentations and all five are now active members of PAMF's Patient-Focused Cancer Committee, where they continue to contribute valuable ideas and helped establish PAMF's wellness and survivorship programs.
Below, they share their experiences and stories with others living with cancer -- to inform, support, inspire and help navigate the journey of cancer survivorship.
Breast CancerSusie Brain
I was first invited to join the Patient-Focused Cancer Care Committee in 2007 by Kingsley Jack, who is also a survivor and one of the first patients on the committee. From the beginning, I found this to be a very welcoming group and a visionary experience. I'd been doing a lot of advocacy work for breast cancer survivors in the local community, and this was a natural extension of this activity.
Read Susie's story.
The most shocking news I ever received was my breast cancer diagnosis. Almost as shocking was the realization that I was not in control of its recurrence. The emotional journey that followed treatment was a lot tougher than I expected, and I am constantly adjusting to what I call my "new normal." It's a wholly transformed physical and emotional presence. There's no doubt about it - breast cancer changes a person!
Read Kingsley's story.
PAMF's survivorship program is unique because it provides more patient-centered care than a lot of other places. I know "patient-centered" is a buzzword that is often used in the medical community right now, but PAMF truly is doing it as part of their cancer care. They're actually thinking about the patient and not just the diagnosis and treatment. PAMF keeps in touch with patients and makes sure that they really understand the long-term effects of their cancer treatment and how to navigate life as survivors.
Read Joan's story.
After my prostate cancer diagnosis in 2005, my urologist gave me options, which I discussed with my wife. Initially, my wife and I opted for surgery, but because of my age and medical history, the surgeon said I'd be a better candidate for radiation than the surgery. My prostate cancer treatment consisted of nine weeks of radiation. And guess what? It worked!
Read Mike's story.
Looking back on it, I thought I had done everything I could do to prevent the cancer, including diet and exercise. I also read as much as I could about prevention. In some ways, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen - especially like in my case, where there is family history. But because I had been so proactive and vigilant, when I got my diagnosis, I was really ticked off. I wasn't so much worried about my health as much as I was just really mad.
Read Norm's story.