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Complete Remission?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

In April of this year my uncle was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. He had a large tumor in front of his heart, had cancer in the lining of his lungs, in his lymph nodes and a rare cancer in his blood. They said he had Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma.

Days after finding out that he had cancer they started him on an aggressive chemo regime. He's had 48 bags of chemo to date since the end of April. He is beginning his next round of 48 treatments this weekend.

The doctors, however, have informed them that he is in COMPLETE remission. That there is no sign of cancer in his body. The next 48 treatments are, from what we understand, precautionary.

I have a couple of questions:

1) Is it possible to have COMPLETE remission from stage IV cancer??

2) What is the prognosis, if the cancer is completely gone? We want to be prepared and I don't believe the doctors told my aunt and uncle on average (as I know everyone is different) how long someone in remission from stage IV cancer lives. Reading up on his type of cancer, the prognosis was that most people lived an average of 18 months if they got the cancer under control, but it never mentioned anything about complete remission.

We're all, obviously, THRILLED by the news but at the same time are almost scared to get too excited as we don't know what EXACTLY all this means. If he's in complete remission, is that it? He's cancer free and won't have to deal with anything else (after the final round of treatment) unless the cancer actually comes back? How likely is it that the cancer will come back? Is he going to be able to resume his normal life, going back to work etc.?

If there's anyone here that has had stage IV Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma and is in complete remission, I'd really appreciate a little incite into what we can expect. Obviously we're all hoping that, yes, after the final round of chemo he can get back to doing all the things he's normally done - after recovering from the chemo itself, gaining weight etc. - and that would be FANTASTIC if that's what happens, but we've spent the last few months on a roller coaster and we just want to be prepared if that's not what we should expect.


Posts: 74
Joined: Jan 2010

You may get more informed feedback on the lymphoma discussion board than here - but best wishes on what sounds like very encouraging reports.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

'Remission' and 'Cured' are not the same thing, regrettably, which is to say that when a doctor says that a survivor is 'in complete remission' the doctor is NOT saying that there is no cancer but that none can be detected at this time. It MAY be gone, but it may not be, too. My doctors prefer the phrase 'no evidence of disease'.

In any case, this is excellent news!

Otherwise, please accept forecasts regarding survivability with a grain of salt. First and foremost, no two patients are the same, and with regard to statistics there are almost always extremes, those who defy the averages at either end of data set. Second, the data you read is probably based on dated research, of necessity, since the studies take years, generally, to complete. This means that the data does not necessarily include newer drugs, newer treatment plans. Finally, unless your uncle has an expiration date on his forehead, any such prediction is only a guess.

Congratulations to your uncle and his family!

Take care,


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