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all clear

cheil's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: Dec 2004

it is my understanding that for colorectal cancer its 5 years from diagnosis until you can get an all clear, has anyone any experience of this, thanks, cheil.

Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2005

Good morning Cheil,
I was diagnosed with colorectal in April of 2003 and by February of 2004 and two colonoscopy's later they told me I had the prettiest colon they had seen in a while and my cancer count was at an all time low. I don't know if that was just me or what.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Cheil. Surgeons generally work on statistics..and we all know how unpredictable they can be. There are other factors that come into the equation of course. In my case, my cancer was staged at 2 and after resection and chemo(6 months) I was told that follow up bloods were done bi-monthly and scans 3 monthly. Colonoscopies every 12 months. As time goes on if all seems well these test times can get further apart too. I was told that 5 years needed to pass without re-ocurrance before I would be considered cured. They then said that if I got to 7 years things would be considered excellent.
Well......most of us play the waiting game. We even celebrate each anniversary. I guess it would be true to say that we all continually fear a relapse...no matter how many anniversaries we have celebrated. I have been in rem. now for almost 12 months......here's hoping!!!!
cheers, kanga n Jen

Posts: 186
Joined: Nov 2004

Hey Cheil...I have the same impression as Kanga...5 years without recurrence is an excellent sign. I'm sure there are those who have gone well beyond the five year mark. Only bad thing is, they may have moved on from this site (?).

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Cheil,
Good question. My understanding is: for all cancers, the "general rule of thumb' is that after 5 years, you may be considered 'cured'. But, it is perhaps not so simple. With advances in medical treatment, I guess it is possible that some recurrences may occur later than previously. On the other hand, for rectal cancer (my case, so I know more about it), something like 80% of recurrences happen within the first two years. So, after 2 years, the chances of recurrence drop dramatically. At the end of the day, these are only numbers. We are individuals. My philosophy is to embrace any possible opportunity for celebration -- my own anniversaries and milestones as well as other people's.

cheil's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: Dec 2004

thanks all for your input, I am just past 3 years since surgery for stage 3 colon with 1 lymph node affected. My query was to see if there was a concensus of when one could be classified as cured for things like getting insurance etc, the other very valid information I never seem to be able to get is, how long does it take for a cancer to grow, as if its less than 5 years, and we make that aniversary, then might we assume that the chemo has done the trick of mopping up ALL the cells which had migrated from the original Tumor.

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