Understanding cancer and its recurrence
Individuals diagnosed with cancer face several hurdles in their quest to overcome their disease . The first is dealing with the shock of the diagnosis . The second is coping with treatment , which can wreak havoc on the body for several months . Making it through treatment successfully can provide a sigh of relief . But there ’ s often looming concerns about recurrence .
What is recurrence ?
The American Cancer Society says recurrence describes cancers coming back after treatment . The odds of cancer recurring depend on several factors , including which type of cancer a person has had . Furthermore , there are different categories of recurrence . According to MassiveBio , a central hub that connects cancer patients to the best treatments and clinical trials available , the types of cancer recurrence patients may encounter include : local , regional and distant . Local recurrence is when the cancer is back in the same spot . Regional recurrence happens when cancer recurs in the lymph nodes near the original tumor location . Distant recurrence refers to cancer that has spread to a different location in the body and is labeled “ metastatic .” For example , colon cancer that is later detected in the lungs would be called metastatic colon cancer .
Why does recurrence occur ?
The National Cancer Institute says recurrent cancer begins with cancer cells that the first treatment didn ’ t fully remove or destroy . In such instances , a small number of cancer cells survived and were too small to detect on any follow-up tests . Over time , these cells grew into tumors that are now detectable . Rest assured that a recurrence is not a sign that treatment was faulty or that the oncologist did anything wrong . Some cancer cells simply survive treatment .
There ’ s no surefire way to prevent a recurrence . Eating better , avoiding cancer risk factors , exercising , and limiting stress are good for the body , but these behaviors do not prevent recurrence . According to the American Cancer Society , there is no guarantee cancer will never come back .
Cancers with high recurrence rates
Cancer Therapy Advisor says some cancers are particularly challenging to treat and have high rates of recurrence . Glioblastoma , the most common type of brain cancer , recurs in nearly all patients . Epithelial ovarian cancer recurrence also is high at 85 percent . Approximately 30 to 50 percent of patients with bladder cancer who have undergone cystectomy will experience a recurrence . Those with breast cancer who have had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy have a 3 to 15 percent risk of local recurrence within 10 years , according to Susan G . Komen . Other types of cancer with elevated recurrence rates include lung cancer , pancreatic cancer , lymphoma , and prostate cancer .
Cancer recurrence remains a possibility even after successful treatment . Physicians will schedule regular appointments following treatment to look for any signs of recurrence so they can catch them as early as possible .
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