More than 100 types of cancer are known, with great variation even in cancers stemming from the same tissue or organ. For instance, triple negative breast cancer behaves differently and is treated differently than breast cancer that is hormone receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor positive.
Cancers are composed of cells that divide without stopping. Some divide slowly, others quickly. Some are more invasive than others. Body terrain can influence the microenvironment in which the cancer exists, making it more or less likely to spread. You can sometimes improve your body terrain with integrative practices. (See Body Terrain and Tumor Microenvironment.)
Knowing how your cancer behaves will influence the type of testing and treatment used, prepare you for possible treatment side effects and guide you in steps to prevent or minimize these effects. It will help you understand and choose the complementary therapies and lifestyle approaches that may enhance your conventional treatment, manage side effects and improve your quality of your life.
You can also prepare your home team for what to expect. You can plan ahead to line up the support you may need. Finally, learning what to expect allows you to prepare mentally and spiritually to catalyze your resilience for facing the weeks and months to come.
You may read “the median five-year survival for this cancer is X percent.” That means that this percentage of people survive at least five years. But median survival doesn’t show the range of survival expectancy—which can vary from months to decades. We know many people who have lived far beyond the median. Getting healthier with cancer—and skillful use of conventional and complementary therapies—may help extend your life. It will very likely improve the quality of your life. There is nothing wrong with hope.
Our goal is to help you live as well as you can for as long as you can using the optimal combination of conventional, complementary and integrative therapies and approaches.
You might start with learning about cancer generally and then proceed to your cancer specifically.
Select from these types of cancer for information and resources:
Synonyms and specific cancers within these broad types are listed on our Types of Cancer page.
- American Society of Clinical Oncology: Cancer.Net