Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Although every disease has its patients, to be a cancer patient has a very specific meaning, both to the patients and their relatives and the general public. Often, there is a large amount of misunderstanding surrounding cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
A diagnosis of cancer is by no means a death warrant. Rather, it depends completely on the nature of the malignancy whether the patient will die of the disease (as in mesothelioma) or with the disease (as in most cases of prostate cancer). At present, 50% of all newly diagnosed malignancies are being cured.
Receiving the diagnosis of cancer is a secretly harbored fear for many people. In a sense, being diagnosed with a malignancy with an 80% 5-year survival is considered worse by most people than to be diagnosed with heart failure, which - dependent on its stage - has a much more dismal prognosis.
Some malignancies may recur after adequate treatment. Patients who have previously undergone treatment for cancer may worry about new symptoms and whether these may represent a recurrence. Similarly, doctors may be more suspicious of symptoms if they occur in a patient with a previous malignancy.