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A Piece of My Mind
October 24/31, 2012

Cancer Survivorship and Beyond

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliation: Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York (aastrow@maimonidesmed.org).

JAMA. 2012;308(16):1639-1640. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13258

A number of years ago I stood up during the question-and-answer period at a conference at which the issue of cancer “survivorship” was on the agenda. Thinking that the term “cancer survivor” might carry unwanted connotations, I asked why someone with a history of cancer would seek that designation.

A person who had been treated for breast cancer responded passionately from the podium, to considerable applause: “Because we're not patients !” Feeling chastened, my question admittedly “out of touch,” I bowed my head and slunk back to my seat.