About cancer (from the American Cancer Society)

Cancer touches people of all ages, races, and incomes. This means that, at some time in their lives, everyone will talk with a person who has cancer. There are no rules to follow when talking with them, because each person and situation is unique.

The word “cancer” itself is upsetting because it often makes people think about death. But death is not the outcome for many people with cancer. Almost 12 million people who have had cancer are alive today. And more and more cancers are being found early — when they’re easier to treat. So the fear you might feel when you learn that someone you care about has cancer can and should be mixed with hope. Most cancers can be treated, and research is constantly finding new and better ways to find and treat cancer.

Some people live many years with cancer. This means that they may have to adjust to different types of treatment at different stages of the disease. Family and friends must also adjust to these changes and provide emotional support and hope along the way.

In many cases, having cancer doesn’t mean there is a clear beginning, middle, and end to the experience. There may be a beginning and an end to a treatment plan. And perhaps a time when there is no sign of the cancer. But for some people, there may be a time when cancer returns. And sometimes treatment can go on for years just to keep the cancer under control — it never goes away.