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Earlier today, How successful is Cancer treatment? was posted. At first, I thought about it and gave a little anecdote of my own in the comment about the success of treatments and what factors may play a role. However, does anyone see a question like this as extremely broad and nonconstructive?

Cancer treatment plans have a huge range of successes, failures, and operations. Every cat is different, and every cancer is different. Not only that, I think the question was meant to apply for other animals and not just cats. Now, I know the question was asking "how" successful, implying some sort of statistic or percentage, but labelling a percentage on the range of cancers across different breeds, sizes, animals, etc... just seems a bit too loose.

Should we allow questions like these on the site? For future owners at a loss, not knowing what treatment option to do, can a post like this really help if the range of answers is so broad? I've flagged the question as too broad but I'd like to hear other opinions.

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    In terms of the specific question, since the OP has now indicated that they want a general "all cancers for all species" answer, then I would agree it is clearly and entirely too broad. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 14:46
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I also flagged it too broad, right before I came to meta and saw this question here.

How curable is a given cancer? There are a number of factors in play including:

  1. the type of cancer
  2. the stage of cancer at the time treatment begins
  3. the type of treatment being given
  4. the skill of the medical practitioner
  5. the overall health of the pet at the time of treatment
  6. the willingness of owner involvement (including both care and expense)

I am of the opinion that the question should be made less broad; thequestioner should know the approximate answers to at least 4/6 of the factors I just asked; should these be answered, then the question would be less broad and a more accurate answer could be given.

  • This is covered and it's still possible to talk about median information with respect to this question, so I absolutely disagree that it's too broad. I firmly believe that many pet owners will want to ask this as time goes by. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 4:37
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    +1. @JohnCavan Obviously many pet owners will have the question, but is it so broad that the question isn't constructive? Probably. Questions like these should be directed at their own vets, as they are the local experts. Also - whoever dv'd, please explain why. I asked for opinions and this is exactly what this answer provides. – jeremy Dec 30 '13 at 5:21
  • @Jeremy - If you really need to know, I'm pretty sure it was John who dv'd because the timing coordinated with his response. – JoshDM Dec 30 '13 at 6:02
  • @JoshDM Hmm... would expect a mod to have better courtesy for things like these =/ – jeremy Dec 30 '13 at 6:09
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    @Jeremy a minus vote means disagree with the opinion in meta, it's not a reputation hit. So, yes, I disagree with Josh, clearly, so a down vote is appropriate from me if I feel that way. I don't know why you think that would be a discourtesy... – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 11:39
  • @Jeremy - See pets.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta for more details. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 11:41
  • Correct; either way, @Jeremy, a downvote against one's rep is not significant in the long term, and yes they are treated as "disagree" in meta, which (for some reason) does not seem to affect one's rep. if it is a site-specific meta. – JoshDM Dec 30 '13 at 13:38
  • As a note, my disagreement with this response is that I think we want to avoid being too situational because the utility to others will rapidly disappear in that event. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 15:00
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There is statistical information available that can provide people with a general sense of the scope for specific type for specific species. This is no different, I think, than the stats that surround human survival rates with a particular cancer. So, while it's absolutely true that each diagnosis is going to be different than the other, it is possible to state median survival rates based on certain conditions for a given type.

If the question is really narrowed down, as suggested, then the usefulness of it to other users of the system is lessened. Sure, based on the specifics of a more narrow post, it would be possible to say "your cat may live X number of months" and then we can answer the same lymphoma question for Susie, and Joe, and Mary, and so-on. Having a more general question on lymphoma, we can provide median information based on the general cases and that allows people to get a sense of what the possibilities are when they go to see their vet.

At any rate, if the community thinks it cannot be answered as put (which does specifically state lymphoma), then they'll vote to close. That's the general practice here. :)

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