Can Lung Cancer Go Into Remission?

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The stage of the disease


When the cancer is found at early stage, it is easier to treat. For instance, the successful rate to completely remove the cancer is high if it has not spread yet. This also means that there is smaller chance for cancer left after the treatment.

On the other hand, if the cancer has become advanced or even has spread to other parts of the body, it is much more difficult to treat. It is also likely to recur since there is greater chance for cancer cells left after the treatment.

The treatments

These may have a more significant role to determine whether or not your cancer will recur. Even though if your cancer is caught early, it may come back if it’s not treated appropriately!

For example – after surgery, the cancer is likely to come back from its remission if:

  1. Some cells of cancer were left behind in surgery.
  2. Some cells of cancer has broken from the primary site and spread to other areas of the body before surgery.

Your surgeons and specialists will do their best to completely remove all the cancer cells. But in fact, it’s not always easy. There is always a chance for some cancer cells have been left behind.

Therefore, additional treatments after surgery are usually required, including for early lung cancer. These include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biological therapy, or hormone therapy.

So the key point of how lung cancer can come back is when the treatment fails to completely remove the cancer cells.

Lung cancer may also go into remission spontaneously

Almost all cases of lung cancer require immediate treatment. But interestingly, lung cancer can also go into remission spontaneously in very rare cases.


Spontaneous remission means temporary /permanent, partial /complete remission of a cancer without treatment or with some treatments but these are not intended to make the cancer decrease as much as it does.

According to a report released in the journal Surgery, a woman (69 years old) was diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma (the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer). Even her cancer had metastasized (spread) to the adrenal glands.

About a month after the diagnosis and before she took any treatment – a rare miracle happens – her cancer (either in her lung and adrenal glands) was almost not detected by a CT scan and PET scan. It had shrunk considerably on its own. Then she took a surgery, and eventually she was doing well about 14 months later.

Each case is unique, especially for this one. Unfortunately, spontaneous remission in cancer is not fully understood yet.

However some explanations have been proposed. Some experts theorize that the immune system may successfully fight against the cancer for unknown reasons. Some people believe that it may also be associated with spiritual reasons.


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