THE BLOG
12/09/2010 04:11 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

There's Hope for Cancer Patients

Cancer does not have to be a period, as long you find the right "comma" to replace it. "Commas" come in various forms, from alternative treatment to faith-based healing, but are designed to prolong that previously inevitable death sentence.

By now, you may have read or heard that Aretha Franklin was diagnosed with cancer. There is even an unconfirmed report of the cancer being in her pancreas. If that should be the case, Ms. Franklin still has a life to live which will not be determined by medical statistics. In fact, there are people who have been defying statistics about the disease who should inspire anyone in this predicament.

One of those people is Laurie MacCaskill. She was diagnosed in 2006, but has defied the odds by living past the general life expectancy for the disease. Mrs. MacCaskill is a board member for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and works with other charitable organizations. While her success is more of an exception than the rule, it still gives one hope to know there are people who have proven the studies wrong.

Plus, the statistics for pancreatic cancer patients have been grouped according to the location of the tumor. While the American Cancer Society reports that less than 4 percent will live past five years, Mrs. MacCaskill's progress should inspire big name folks like Ms. Franklin and even common people fighting the disease.

Pancreatic cancer hit home last year, when a dear family friend named Mrs. Minnie Williams passed away on December 20, 2009. She lived about a year, which fulfilled the dreadful prophecy that most oncologists give their patients. For me, it was tough to watch her slip away because she was a grandmother of a friend who eventually "adopted" my younger brother and his classmates as honorary grandchildren. She didn't have the notoriety of Ms. Franklin, but she made just as big of a difference in the world while providing an after-school haven for at-risk teens. Therefore, Mrs. Williams left a legacy of saving the lives of others as she fought to save her own.

This is why research and awareness are key solutions to fighting all forms of cancer, especially the "silent killers" which are found in the pancreas, uterus, and ovaries. Cancer affects people of all races, every gender, and various walks of life. In addition to that, spiritual alternatives including meditation and prayer can be beneficial.

It is my hope that all cancer patients will receive better prognoses in the near future -- including Ms. Franklin.

That would be "sweet music" to everyone's ears.