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remission ? If we are in remission does this mean that we are still cancerous?

Leebee
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2003

I have been told that I am in remission, but my daughter says that I am still terminal, with breast cancer that moved to the bone. Yet if I am in remission does that mean that my cancer is asleep and not causing problems?

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Leebee:

I think that you should ask your doctor about your status. If you are in remission, with breast cancer, it means that you currently have no symptoms or signs of detectable active disease. Remission is an interesting term. Whatever else the term means, never interpret it to mean temporary! It's just medi-speak for "nothing is going on right now" regarding the cancer you HAD.

The truth is that no one knows when cancer cells are present and sleeping, hiding or not present at all. There's no specific test which will reveal "hiding/sleeping or dormant cancer cells". It's an impossible thing to determine. Another reason most doctors use the term "no active disease" as opposed to telling us we're "cancer free" or "cured".

In general conversation, my doctor once cited a report to me which said that most of us, at one time or another, have had some cancer cells in our bodies. Most of the time, our immune system rids us of them before they can set up housekeeping and cause any problems for us. When our immune systems fail and the cancer grows, then we are ultimately diagnosed and treated.

Following treatment, when we have no sign of active disease remaining in our bodies, then we are considered in "remission", for lack of a better word. Most of us prefer to think we're "cancer free" unless proven otherwise.
And I rather prefer that way of thinking about it, even though it is not "scientifically" correct
or provable.

When we're feeling great and our check ups are great, nothing to do but enjoy our good (restored) health and live each day like we mean it!

Hope this perspective may be helpful.

Love, light and laughter,
Ink

hummingbyrd's picture
hummingbyrd
Posts: 965
Joined: Sep 2002

Hey Lee, hate to say this but tell your daughter to go find a better attitude, with all due respect. Told my mom, 'if you can't have a positive attitude you cannot come around me'. We are all 'terminal' in the fact that one day we will ALL die, daughter included. BUT that doesn't mean it will be from the cancer. I was diagnosed June 2000 w/ bone mets 8/01 and 9/01, markers have been going up since, but praise God I'm still here. I go for herceptin treatments by port IV every week and will till I die or they come up with something better. Docs can't explain markers going up for over 18 months and no sign of further spread. My philosophy...everybody should live each day as if its their last, cancer or not, because none of us are promised tomorrow. Remission does not promise you any extra days than the Lord has #'ed for you, just as the diagnosis of cancer didn't shorten them. Our days are #'ed before birth, 'the diagnosis' just usually wakes us up and makes us realize we are going to die one day. Take advantage of that and live life to its fullest, and tell your daughter she might want to take the same advise! Again, no offense to her, just want her to realize she needs to appreciate life also. Forget the labels, remission, diagnosed, terminal...won't make a bit of difference to God when your day is due.
Here by the grace of God and giving Him all the honor and glory!
God bless. hummingbyrd

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