Sunday, 8 July 2007

Living with cancer of unknown primary origin (CUP)

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Cancer of unknown primary origin is so rare that unless you know someone who has been affected by it, you've probably never even heard of it. Also known as carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP), the disease is so named because doctors are unable to determine the cancer's site of origin, making it much more difficult to treat. I think it is one of the scariest forms of the disease because, if you can't figure out where it began, how can you ever really eradicate it?

CUP accounts for a mere 2 to 4 percent of all cancer cases, making it pretty rare. The only reason I've heard of it is because a friend of my mother's was diagnosed with the disease over 5 years ago. Sadly, she passed away last week after a long and courageous battle. While five years sounds like a drop in the bucket, it's important for anyone who has recently been diagnosed to know that, according to the information provided here, diagnostic tests for the disease continue to improve and now, four out of five of those diagnosed with CUP will eventually find out the actual origin of their cancer.

It is also good to remember that it is up to you to take charge of your care if you don't feel that everything possible is being done. My mother's friend was told by her first doctor that she had a mere 6 months to live. She refused to believe this and demanded to see another doctor. This physician laughed at her original diagnosis and told her that there were loads of treatments and that while she may have some tough times ahead, she also had a lot more than 6 months left. While she did have some bad days, she spent the next five years traveling, enjoying the company of friends and living life to the fullest.

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