Make That 50%

I don’t know how long the crocodile hunter thing is going to sustain me, so I thought I should ask everyone to give me their own versions of “23%” – bogus statistical probabilities to help me keep perspective on that nasty stat that threw me for such a loop last week. 

My husband volunteered that there is a 23% chance the average person would lose their mind before actually being able to understand statistical mathematics. My friend Sharyn said there is a 32% chance that the reporter who quoted the stats is dyslexic.  But the best by far was when she added that there is in fact no 23% — that it’s always and only a 50% chance for any of us — you either live or die, that’s it.  Smart cookie, that Sharyn.   I give her a 23% chance of getting all verklempt when she reads this. More likely she’s saying “That’s right. Atta girl.”



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

5 responses to “Make That 50%

  1. Sharyn Abelson

    “That’s right. Atta girl”. 100% my love. Go get ’em.

  2. Carol W.


    I’m also Her2 positive and was alarmed to read your blog, the article and the nasty stat in question. I’ve looked back in my notes from my various visits to the doctor and, unfortunately, can’t find where I logged any statistics. My attempts at Googling this were also unsuccessful. So now that I’ve got the qualifiers out there I’ll say this – my recollection is that with Herceptin the survival rate is much better than 23%. Perhaps the study in Texas is older and didn’t take Herceptin into consideration or the advances made in the various treatment protocols…

    That aside, my thinking is that we are NOT statistics. Statistics are compiled to help us make sense of things that don’t always make sense. Each of our situations is unique and it is difficult and dangerous with something like cancer to say that what holds true in one scenario can apply broadly to all others. You are a study group of one (as am I and everyone else) and yer gonna kick cancers’ass!!

    After reading the article I went to the website she talked about ( and read a very inspiring and hopeful story about a woman named Lisa. Lisa was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (discovered when her neck collapsed). I won’t give all of the details away because hopefully you’ll read it. Suffice it to say that her diagnosis was 9 years ago, NINE!!! Her cancer is stable and she is still here today to tell her story. So, Texas, stuff that in your pipe and smoke it!

    Keep on keepin’ on. Love, Carol

  3. Judy & Bull

    Hi Leanne:
    You might want to go to todays Globe and read Margaret Wente. Page A17. entitled Cancer with hope and a hug.


  4. Pam

    Just to clarify, I think the study that was referred to in the Ottawa Citizen was this one:
    It’s important to note that they refer to a 23% rate of recurrence for HER2 positive breast cancers NOT a 23% survival rate. Hope this helps!

  5. lcoppen

    THANK-YOU everyone for sharing my horror, and especially to Pam for your sleuthing and finding that study! What an important clarification! You cannot imagine how changed I am.

    That’s the nice thing about having this blog as a forum to vent anger, scream at the universe or collapse in tears: I’m not still sitting in a heap on my kitchen floor surrounded by a pile of rumpled Kleenex – there are a bunch of people out there to help pick me up and dust me off and get me back in the game.

    A million thank-yous, truly.


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