Geting Educated About Your Cancer


The following post is written by Robin Maggio, oncology social worker with Woman’s Hospital.

Do you know what stage I or stage II cancer means? Or how long the average person diagnosed with stage III or stage IV cancer lives after surgery and receiving treatment?

Lifestyles with cancer are changing every year, and an advanced cancer diagnosis does not mean the same today as it did 20 years ago. Knowing what you’re facing during and after your cancer treatment is vital, and we work to educate patients so they understand what is going on with their bodies.

Patients with cancers considered to be chronic will deal with it forever, but forever is a lot longer than it was 20 years ago.

It’s no longer, “We’re sorry you have cancer. We’re going to do treatment, but we don’t think it’s going to do very much.” Now, it’s, “We’re going to get you treatment, you’re going to do fine. You’ll have to come back in a couple of years when it’ll come back, but you might get 15, 20, 30 more years.”

We want to educate patients what their diagnosis means, and if it’s a chronic cancer, we help them understand what their future with a chronic illness entails.

Two websites whose information we trust are the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. Patients can learn a lot about their diagnosis, potential side effects, conditions and other cancer information on these sites. You can get a lot of the information, read it at your own pace and better understand what’s going on so that when you go to the doctor, you can be more prepared.

Helping them know what they have is not only a source of education, but also empowerment for the patients. Through education, they better know what they’re facing, what to expect and what they need to do to live a stronger, healthier life.


I’m the Living with Cancer blog editor. My name is Connie and I work in Woman’s Marketing Department. Follow this blog and our posts will arrive in your email.

We are always looking for stories related to your cancer journey. If cancer has touched your life and you would like to write about your story, let me know. Email me at

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