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Cancer Treatment – Becoming Your Own Advocate

From day one, when I got hit with the devastating news, I knew the only way I would survive would be to advocate for myself and my survival. Not many people are taught how to do this nor do they do it.

My situation was dire and the prognosis was grim. At the time of my diagnosis, there were only 125 other patients around the world registered in the internet group HEARD, meaning they had the same type of sarcoma I was battling. Even though many patients in this group had a low grade histological diagnosis, one by one they started dying off. Regardless of what I was being told by so-called experts, I did not plan on ending up a statistic.

Talking to many of my fellow survivors while on their death beds really motivated me to research my tumor type and find targets I could hit nutritionally and conventionally. Ninety percent of my free time was spent learning how to attack inflammation, angiogenesis and other targets. I always took my research to my oncology appointments so I could share it with my clinicians. I also had a number of phone consults around the U.S. and Europe that allowed me to gain a new perspective.

I was repeatedly rejected for liver transplants by numerous hospitals in the mid- west, however, as I stated before, my early research paid off. Liver transplant surgeon Dr John Fung, whom I had reached out to in 2003, eventually became the head of his department and approved my lifesaving liver transplant in 2009.

The old notion of the “all knowing” doctor and the passive, compliant patient still works some of the time. But if you are facing a life-threatening illness, there is a good chance that this outcome may not be optimum. Not because doctors aren’t trying but because cancer is one of the most complex and sophisticated illnesses on the planet. What patients are not told is that their specific tumor is very unique. As a matter of fact, you can use your tumor’s distinct characteristics to attack itself. In order to do this you need to advocate for yourself because many hospitals and clinicians won’t offer these strategies, such as molecular profiling, circulating tumor cells, and more. Many health professionals only want to offer patients the “standard of care”. Individuals facing a life-threatening illness with limited survival times need more, much more.

Here are some key points in becoming engaged and surviving cancer:

  1. Set your intention to survive.
  2. Intention leads to engagement and purpose.
  3. No one has more responsibility for fighting this disease than you do!

Surviving a diagnosis of a tough, complicated cancer is hard work. It’s a daily, step-by-step process. One must focus an enormous amount of time and energy on survival. Many patients are told to just go on with their life, and let the clinician handle the details.  That’s not good enough. What they need to do is become engaged, research their tumor(s), and ask for customized care. Not to do this could be a huge mistake.

This is not the norm in the United States. Additionally, cancer patients must use every tool available to make their bodies cancer-unfriendly! We have the tools…now it’s high time that we use them!

Originally printed on Mark’s website, CancersStrategist.com. Reprinted with permission.


Mark Roby, PA-C is an Integrative Clinician, Author, Speaker, Cancer Coach, and Survivor.Through his passion, knowledge, experience, and  having survived cancer himself, he teaches and connects with audiences like no other. He speaks to cancer patients, hospitals and medical centers, and religious organizations about highly impactful practices of personalized care and cancer survival.

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