What do you want from your cancer treatment plan? It may sound like a crazy question. You want your cancer to go away! Chances are, though, that you want more. 

You want your life back. That’s the theme of this issue: quality of life. It begins with treatment choices. The goal isn’t just to kill the cancer but to do so while doing the least harm to your body. Drugs that target cancer anywhere in the body, usually with fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy, are one promising approach (“The Pancancer Paradigm”). In addition, read Care & Treatment stories on lung cancer survival, prostate cancer progression, breast cancer risk recommendations and quitting smoking even after a cancer diagnosis. For general information on prostate cancer, read our Prostate Basics.

When Cancer Pain Won’t Go Away” covers perhaps the biggest threat to quality of life. While non-opioid therapies can be effective for some people, others need and can safely use opioids, often for years. 

Finding your way to the best life you can have now is a personal journey. In “Turning the Tables,” urologist Willie Underwood, MD, uses his own prostate cancer experience to become a better man and a better doctor, rededicating himself to serving others, including reducing racial disparities. Lung cancer survivor Don Stranathan (“Fulfilling a Promise”), advocates not only for his own treatment but also to expand opportunities for others. In “A Breast Cancer Diary,” Emily Garnett confronts with honesty the obstacles metastatic breast cancer has put in her path. Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo (“What Fitness Gives Me”) uses fitness to “steer the beast,” while Amy Berman (“Riding With Reindeer”) credits palliative care for her adventurous life. In “Dulcimer Harmonies,” a couple, both living with cancer, play sweet melodies to help calm others as they wait for treatment. 

There’s much more in these pages to help you improve your quality of life, from acupuncture for sleep to a cream for radiation-burned skin to learning how your oncology pharmacist can help you use meds more effectively and with fewer side effects. 

Who’s on your team? Please take our survey and let us know!