President Jimmy Carter’s former chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, died this week of mesothelioma after 24 years of fighting and surviving cancer four different forms of cancer. His memoirs include a top ten list of recommendations for cancer patients.
The whole list is worth reading, but in principle it could be boiled down to the first item:
No. 1: Be an active partner in the medical decisions that are made about your life.
Don’t be passive. Learn about your disease, and participate in the decisions that are made….For example with my lymphoma, if I would have accepted the first treatment offered, I’d be dead today. It was assumed that I only had a mass in my chest. I later learned that the lymphoma was all through my body.
All of the other items on the list elaborate on this one, which is the most basic and the most important.