How do you treat cancer?

Someone close to me was recently diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of cancer that has not yet spread through the body.

This person has everything they could possibly want. A lovely home, a great career, a wonderful family.

And yet.

This person's last 7 years have been spent working away from their home, setting up out-of-state residences or hotel stays for weeks and months at a time. They have a provider complex like I've never seen.

Now, they have cancer. When I saw them recently, they seemed so different. So outstandingly down and depressed where there was once life and humor.

Their loved ones are worried and frustrated. Because this person has been away for 7 years, there's been no need to communicate with them reliably. It's horrible. They've been so busy working and providing monetarily that there's been little to no emotional provision at home, leading to poor communication on both sides of the issue.

After this diagnosis, their first step was to ignore it. They didn't even want to pick up the test results when they were available. They had to be called by multiple members in the family and patiently persuaded to get them. Then, they had to wade through second opinions of doctors that they didn't want to listen to, because they had already “done their research.” Research of medical miracles online, special diets, wonder drugs, and fake vitamins all spring from this person's mouth whenever we call. This same fake vitamin that's touted as a new, just discovered cure for cancer from various .com's and .net's is the same “miracle drug” that a distant relative of mine took in the 70's to overcome cancer. This distant relative traveled to Mexico for treatment and died shortly after, with no improvement. No miracle.

And yet.

Every time they see a doctor for another opinion, they reject surgery. They reject chemo. They reject radiation. They seek after treatments that are new to FDA oversight or even those without any oversight at all. Just a miracle pill from god-knows-where. They refuse to listen to their spouse or their children, believing their body is the tool to make a stand against an over-regulatory government or a medical industry that's going up in flames. But that's bullshit.

They are scared shitless.

I feel guilty for writing this, but I feel that I have to. But I have to ask, who in their right mind would reject established treatment over the possibility of side effects for a “treatment” that promises no side effects? And this from a very rational, smart human? I want to shake them awake, to scream to the heavens:

“This isn't just about you—it's about your family too.”