I saw this thread pop up and revsited it in the light of my metastatic progression and have two thoughts.
The jury is out on whether I was StIV all along or have just had a rapid progression/recurrance (both are not good news) but my oncologist, who is a pretty down-to earth guy and very well aware that I am almost as well informed as he is and so could probably see through any smokescreen clearly expects to be able to cure me (his exact words, albeit in German), and that despite the assumption that I am currently probably inoperable (his assessment, not yet a surgeons). He promised to tell me if his opinion changed, which it might when we see how I react to Folfox, and there are lots of studies about how Docs are unwilling to communicate prognoses they fear themselves, but I dont think hes fazing me and I choose to accept his guarded optimism.
The other thought comes after I re-visited Gaelens "cold wind of reality" post. Quite apart from the fact that Gaelen has sadly proved herself right by passing recently despite a couple of extended periods NED, I realised she had made an error in presenting her (uncomfortable but based on solid facts) stats. She stated that "most people live the median of 3 years" (paraphrased). Well actually, of course, the whole point of the "median" is that exactly half the people studied (minus the guy who was the median) lived less than three years (and many considerably less - Its a sobering thought that up to 20 or 30% of the people diagnosed when I was a year ago may well already be dead), and exactly half (minus the median) lived longer. Now if you look at the curve (any survival curve) it continues to fall very steeply after the median and Im sure not many folks would regard it as a huge advantage to live 3 years + two weeks (which was essentially Gaelens point) but even so.
As a point of interest, the US Wikipedia page for CRC still has that stat that we know and love whereby overall long term survival @ STIV is 5%. The German wiki page now has "0-57%", which pretty much exactly reflects what newer chemo and advanced surgical techniques are achieving in pre-selected patients. Of course, the sum total may remain low, but its an indication that some of us stage IVs are increasingly in with a good fighting chance. Gaelen was fond of saying that the overall survival stats for CRC havent moved significantly in decades. In Germany (thats me), something like 65000 new cases (2008) are diagnosed a year. 5% is still 3250 people. A 1% increase (I dont know the excat number or even if there has been an increase like this) in overall survival would mean 650 more people staying alive and most of the research and progress is at Stage IV. Every little helps and each and every one of those 3250+650 is a person. One could be me. Or you. Hopefully AND you.
Yeah, im lying here with my Folfox flowing and have nothing better to do. Does it show?
Stay well, fellow survivors.