When we decided to focus the summer Stanford Medicine magazine on life after a serious health crisis, I saw it as a great opportunity to publish dramatic, inspiring and useful stories. (See what you think of the story lineup. Or read the actual magazine, which ships today.)
What I didn’t realize at first was how important the issue has become in the United States. As I researched the topic, I discovered that we’re a nation of survivors, and becoming more so. One in 20 adults has survived cancer, one in 45 has survived a stroke, and every year hundreds of thousands survive a heart attack. The “survivor boom” is yet another burden on the health-care system – since severe illness often carries long-term physical and psychological consequences. But when you’re the one who’s sick, surviving is usually preferable to the alternative.