MY YOUR CANCER JOURNEY
Since receiving his lung cancer diagnosis, Robert Pirtle has become an active voice in the community, helping others like himself along their cancer journey. His story and example continue to inspire others with the hope and optimism to continue living life to the fullest, even while living with cancer.
What Is the Cancer Community?
The cancer community includes anyone who is living with or affected by cancer, or anyone who assists, supports or provides care at any level. This can include medical professionals, but really is all inclusive to family members, counselors, caregivers and patients. It’s the entire community coming together that truly makes a difference and turns cancer from one person’s journey into a true community effort.
How Did You Take Your First Steps into the Community?
Advocacy for me started as needing support from other survivors and then as we regained our composure and were able to handle things, we wanted to reach out and support others. We also wanted to help bring awareness to the stigmas that lung cancer can have and how that has hindered research. Learning more about my diagnosis by talking to others who were dealing with similar situations helped me feel empowered and connected. That’s why it’s so important for newly diagnosed patients to reach out connect with and connect to others. After all, the more one talks about their diagnosis, the less power it holds over you. For me, giving back and helping others realize this truth has been the most empowering of all.
Does Community Impact Treatment As Well?
Treatment is first and foremost a team effort. We look at the vast information there is out there through our groups like LUNGevity and Gilda’s Club. We then take that to our oncologist and talk it out – pros and cons. There are times when it goes up a further step to our medical team where they consider all aspects of the treatment. So far we have never been at odds with the team. Each decision has been pretty cut and dry as far as our options. I think that will get harder as we begin to use up our mainstream options.
YOUR Cancer means that cancer is not just something that a person deals with alone. It impacts everyone close to the patient.
What’s Your Message of Inspiration to the Community?
For all those living with cancer, it’s important to remember that “YOUR Cancer” is not just something that a person deals with alone. It impacts everyone close to the patient. I would tell all those traveling along their cancer journey—from the newly diagnosed, to those living with cancer, and all those working to make a difference in the community—to remember that you’re never alone. There’s an entire community standing beside you. We’re there with you – every step of the way.
Living with Cancer