Lung cancer is a serious condition and even the mortality rate from the disease is highest than other cancers. Therefore, the treatment is usually necessary. Like other cancers, the stage of this cancer also plays a key role to determine how many years patient will survive. Even it may be able to be cured if caught early. But can it go into remission?
Nowadays, many cases of cancer can be cured especially ones that are diagnosed very early. However, some cancers return several years after their first treatment.
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For most patients, it’s not easy to live with the fact that there is still a chance for their cancer to come back. Even after the treatment, no one can exactly tell that ‘yes, the cancer is cured’.
Many times doctors are likely to not use the word ‘cured’ even though the symptom and sign of the cancer have gone. Typically, they are likely to say that the cancer may go into remission.
The sign and symptom of the cancer may go away ‘temporary’ after the treatment because one or some of the following reasons:
- Any cancer left is too few to cause the symptom.
- Or it is in an inactive state.
Furthermore, it’s not easy to find too few cancer cells in the body. The risk of having left cancer after treatment is high for advanced cancer. If it is caught early, there is greater chance to remove it completely – and therefore the chance to cure the disease is greater, too!
Since there is no clearly way to find whether or not the cancer is completely gone, patients may still need to take adjuvant treatment (long term treatment). This is intended to help prevent the disease from returning.
If you have had lung cancer, thinking about the recurrence of the disease can be frightening.
You may not stop thinking about having had the disease, even though you have tried to put it behind after the end of your treatment. Sometime you may also feel a little frightened of making a plan of anything in your future.
The recurrence cancer can be further defined by where it returns:
- Distant, this is when the cancer comes back in the distant sites such as liver, bones, brain, or adrenal glands (these sites are common places for the metastasis of lung cancer).
- Regional, a condition of when the cancer returns in the nearby lymph nodes.
- Local! The cancer recurs in the lung, near the original tumor.
There is no exactly answer of whether or not your cancer will come back. But in general, if there is still no symptom of the recurrence about 5 years after the treatment, it is less likely to return. Even after 10 years, it may be cured.
Again, the word ‘remission’ doesn’t mean that the cancer has been cured. It means that there is still a chance for the cancer to come back. And the chance of having cancer recurrence is dependent on some factors.
In general, this is associated with the type of lung cancer you have, the stage of when it is first diagnosed, and the treatments that you have taken.
Types of lung cancer
This cancer has many types, but generally it is classified into two main groups; non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell type is the most common type and even it has several subtypes. It can affect active smokers and non-smokers.
Small cell type is exclusively linked to smokers. It can affect non-smokers, too – but very rare. It is often at advanced stages when first diagnosed, because it is quite quickly to grow and spread.
Aggressive types of lung cancer (those that are likely to grow and spread faster) are more difficult to treat. And after the treatment, these may also be likely to come back. See also types of lung cancer in here!