Lies, damn lies and statistics

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I used to love maths, never stats though, I always struggled with the concepts, pure maths was the one I enjoyed, probably totally impractical in day to day life, but I liked it none the less.   There was a clarity and beauty in working out an equation and finding the answer, seeing the working out and the route to the conclusion.   Stats seemed much more random and vague, all based on “ifs” and “probabilities”, nothing definite.

I haven’t been able to avoid stats since being diagnosed with cancer and I like them even less now!

When I was recalled from my mammogram I was told not to worry, in 3 out 4 cases there was nothing to worry about. I was the 1 in 4.

My cancer is the most unusual type of breast cancer accounting for 10% (1 in 10) of all breast cancers. Well lucky me, I’ve got the most unusual one!

At my post operative appointment I was told that it was highly unlikely that it had spread as this only happens in 5% of the cases. Lucky me again, I’m in that 5%.

I could go on, but it is too depressing.  The stats have been quoted to me as a source of reassurance and I always took them in that way, but I’ve been at the wrong end of them throughout my whole diagnosis.  I think I’ve run out of the reassuring stats now because no one is quoting them to me anymore.

I can’t look at the survival stats for secondary breast cancer but I live in hope that maybe, just maybe it might be my turn to be on the right side of the stats.  Let’s hope so.  But in the meantime, I’m going to avoid them thankyou!

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