The other day, while watching television, I saw a promotion for an upcoming series on A&E called "The Beast," starring Patrick Swayze, and I said to myself, "Wow, he really looks great." I felt very happy for him since I knew that he's been battling pancreatic cancer for quite a while.
I thought that Patrick Swayze's presence back on television would inspire people - especially those battling potentially deadly diseases themselves - and make them feel better about their prognoses.
Several days later, I saw a tabloid headline saying that Patrick Swayze's health may be failing, and he was preparing himself for death. I read the story and just as I suspected, it had no facts. And I thought to myself "What a horrible thing to do to someone fighting the battle of their life." So I was happy to see that now many media outlets are reporting the story was false, and Patrick Swayze himself has confirmed that the report was peddling false information.
It really baffles me why some people just want to report negative news - many times even fabricated stories - especially when talking about something as precious as life.
One of the great virtues necessary in the complex treatment of cancer - and many illnesses for that matter - is the ability for patients to accept their situation, but to never give up hope that they will beat it.
There are thousands of success stories of people surviving cancer. If you look at the statistics of most early-detected cancers, the survival rate is well over 50 percent. Even pancreatic cancer could have a survival rate, in some cases, of up to 25 percent.
It serves no purpose to have reports like this circulated by misinformed individuals, because it's not only hurting the patient, but also the people who love them.
Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, but there are many courageous patients who approach it with a sense of optimism that although they are embarking on the fight of a lifetime, in the end, they'll win the war.