Does cancer remission mean cure?

Remission means that the signs and symptoms of the cancer have decreased. It can be partial or complete. When a person experiences complete cancer remission, all signs and symptoms of the disease are gone. This article examines what it means to be in remission. It also explores the types of remission, what follow-up care a person can expect, and when to contact a doctor after going into remission.

What does cancer remission mean?

Being in remission refers to a time when cancer treatment is working and keeping the disease under control. Remission can last from a few weeks to several years, during or after treatment. A person must have a reduction in the number or severity of their symptoms to be in remission. Remission does not mean that a person is cured of cancer. If a person’s cancer is cured, it means that there are no traces of the disease left in the body and it will not return. Because cancer cells may still exist in the body, the cancer may come back or come back.

Types of remission

There are two types of remission: partial remission and complete remission.
Partial remission means that the cancer has responded positively to treatment and has shrunk. Although this may mean that a person has reduced symptoms of the disease, the disease has not completely disappeared.

Complete remission means that all signs, symptoms and traces of cancer cells are gone. After 5 years of complete remission, some doctors may say that a person is cured.
Being in complete remission does not necessarily mean that the cancer is completely gone, as it can come back years later. However, even if the disease returns after complete remission, a new round of treatment can put the cancer back into remission.

Follow-up care after remission

When a person begins cancer treatment, the doctor must check how they are reacting to it. If a person achieves partial remission, the oncology team may need to adjust treatment to achieve complete remission. After a complete remission, the person will have to submit to regular check-ups. These tests will look for signs of the cancer coming back, which could indicate that further treatment is needed.

During the first 2 or 3 years after treatment, a person will usually need to have check-ups every 3 or 4 months. Thereafter, she will only need to show up once or twice a year. These visits include a physical exam, blood work, and other tests specific to the person’s previous cancer.

During these appointments, the person can talk about any emotional or physical problems they are having. She should also discuss any new or persistent symptoms. The presence of symptoms does not necessarily mean that the cancer has come back.

A person can discuss the following with the doctor:

– the use of any new medication or supplement
– any physical problem that could interfere with daily life
– changes in family medical history
– symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Cancer treatment can also cause side effects that appear months or years after treatment. These effects are called late effects. As these effects are specific to the treatment the person underwent, the doctor will have discussed late effects to look out for during follow-up.
The person should inform the doctor of the onset of any late effects.

What does recidivism mean?

Recurrence means that the cancer has come back after complete remission. Although most cancers come back within the first five years, they may come back several years later. The cancer can come back where it started or elsewhere in the body. Doctors will do tests to find out if the cancer is the same as the previous one or if a new type of cancer has developed.

Does cancer always come back after remission?

When a person is in remission after treatment, the cancer does not always come back. It is not possible for doctors to predict the likelihood of the disease returning. However, the risk of recurrence is higher if the cancer is growing rapidly, if it is more advanced or if it is generalized. Even if a recurrence occurs, a person may be able to achieve complete remission again with treatment.

When to contact a doctor after a remission?

Your doctor will likely recommend frequent checkups during the first few years. He can then recommend controls once or twice a year after 2 or 3 years. You should tell your doctor if you have any unusual signs or symptoms that could indicate that your cancer has come back. If the disease should recur, most do so within the first 5 years after complete remission. Cancers grow and come back at different rates. A person’s doctor is the best person to tell them when to return for check-ups.

Summary

Remission means that the symptoms and signs of cancer have decreased. People may be in partial or complete remission. Partial remission means that the cancer and its symptoms are still present but under control. Complete remission means that tests can no longer detect the disease in the body and its symptoms and signs have disappeared. Being in remission does not mean a person is cured, as the cancer may come back. However, if the disease recurs, affected individuals may achieve complete remission again after further treatment.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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