“You’re 100% alive or 100% dead at any given moment”

A recurring training topic on this blog, originally for e-patients but also for clinicians and policy people, is understanding statistics. (See posts in that category.)  Not only are statistics often misinterpreted; even when they’re correctly understood, patients too often interpret a slim chance as no chance.

During my illness I heard from a long-ago co-worker. A cancer patient herself now, she recently wrote that while sitting in the chair getting chemo, she found this splendid and empowering tidbit :

What I think I learned is, you’re either 100 percent alive or 100 percent dead at any given moment,” says Meg Gaines, whom doctors gave a 5 percent chance of surviving [ovarian cancer]. “What statistics tell you is whether you’re in a great big fight, a medium-sized fight, or a little fight. People win and lose all three, so it just tells you what your fighting mind-set is.

“It tells you what level of risk you’ll take in treatment. It informs things. But I don’t think it’s very helpful on the ultimate question: Will I stay or will I go?”

Excerpted in Utne magazine, March-April 2010, pp. 71-73, from On Wisconsin (Winter 2009), www.uwalumni.com/onwisconsin.

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Posted in: general | understanding statistics | Why PM

 

 

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4 Responses to ““You’re 100% alive or 100% dead at any given moment””

  1. New on e-patients.net: "At any moment you're either 100% alive or 100% dead" http://bit.ly/aoTrxO

  2. RT @Tombolo_MN: “You’re 100% alive or 100% dead at any given moment” Read the longer quote, gr8 reminder for pts http://bit.ly/bmAxM2

  3. pamelana says:

    Here is a more direct link to the actual article this came from:

    http://www.uwalumni.com/home/alumniandfriends/onwisconsin/archives/winter2009/wayfinders.aspx

  4. “You’re 100% alive or 100% dead at any given moment,” says ovarian cancer surv.; highlights problem w/cancer statistics. http://dld.bz/jGpb)

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