Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Cancer facts
- What is cancer?
- What are risk factors and causes of cancer?
- What are cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of cancer?
- What specialists treat cancer?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose cancer?
- How do physicians determine cancer staging?
- What is the treatment for cancer?
- Are there home remedies or alternative treatments for cancer?
- What is the prognosis for cancer?
- Is it possible to prevent cancer?
- Where can people find more information about cancer?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What is the prognosis for cancer?
The prognosis (outcome) for cancer patients may range from excellent to poor. The prognosis is directly related to both the type and stage of the cancer. For example, many skin cancers can be completely cured by removing the skin cancer tissue; similarly, even a patient with a large tumor may be cured after surgery and other treatments like chemotherapy (note that a cure is often defined by many clinicians as a five-year period with no reoccurrence of the cancer). However, as the cancer type either is or becomes aggressive, with spread to lymph nodes or is metastatic to other organs, the prognosis decreases. For example, cancers that have higher numbers in their staging (for example, stage III or T3N2M1; see staging section above) have a worse prognosis than those with low (or 0) numbers. As the staging numbers increase, the prognosis worsens and the survival rate decreases.
This article offers a general introduction to cancers, consequently the details -- such as life expectancy for each cancer -- cannot be covered. However, cancers in general have a decreasing life expectancy as the stage of the cancer increases. Depending on the type of the cancer, as the prognosis decreases, so does life expectancy. On the positive side, cancers that are treated and do not recur (no remissions) within a five-year period in general suggest that the patient will have a normal life expectancy. Some patients will be cured, and a few others may get recurrent cancer. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees.
There are many complications that may occur with cancer; many are specific to the cancer type and stage and are too numerous to list here. However, some general complications that may occur with both cancer and its treatment protocols are listed below:
- Fatigue (both due to cancer and its treatments)
- Anemia (both)
- Loss of appetite (both)
- Insomnia (both)
- Hair loss (treatments mainly)
- Nausea (both)
- Lymphedema (both)
- Pain (both)
- Immune system depression (both)
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