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Does it ever stop recurring?

billswife
Posts: 33
Joined: Feb 2004

3 Years ago my husband had a tumor in the nasal /sinus cavity that was pressing against his optic nerve. That's how we found it. We thought it was an eye problem that was robbing his sight but it was really this tumor. He underwent hard core radiation ( 25 days-- the last 2 weeks 2X a day) and 1 course of chemo amd we were amazed to find the tumor was gone without surgery and has not come back. The eyesight on the affective side is not real good but the other side had improved greatly. After a few proceedures and a couple of scares that turned out to be scar tissue and a polyp, that part of him seems to be fine. Here's the rub. Since that time, the Pet CT scans have found 3 separate tumors in the lung. The first one responded to chemo--dissappeared and another one came up. Surgery for that one--gone again, but the last Pet-CT shows another one. Here we go again.
Each tumor responds to the treatment and goes away. The Dr says each recurrence is a new tumor. Is there such a thing a chronic cancer?

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Billswife,
It sounds like your husband's cancer is really keeping the doctors busy! I'm glad they are finding strategies to keep it under control. I am diagnosed with two kinds of cancer: breast cancer since 2002 and lung cancer this past August. I have met many people with cancer as a result and learned a few things. One is that cancer can be thought of as a chronic disease that can be treated. When caught in very early stages before it has become invasive, cancer may be "cured" in some people. Cancer is an umbrella term that covers many different diseases that share the following things to one degree or another in common: the cancer tissue is similar to the tissue where it first started but genetically messed up so it no longer functions like normal tissue, it has the ability to grow and divide but has lost the ability to "know" when to stop growing so it can interfere with the function of nearby normal tissue, it can invade nearby normal tissue further interfering with its function, and it may have or develop the ability at any time to travel in the lymph or blood system and set up camp elsewhere. When it sets up camp elsewhere, it still "looks" similar to the original tissue from which it started. So no matter whether it travels to your lungs, bones, or whatever, it is still called by its original name. They had to do surgery on the nodule in my lung to find out if it was lung cancer or breast cancer that had metastisized to the lung (that is traveled and set up camp there). The two cancers do not respond to the same chemo even though they are both cancer. It's kind of like having different kinds of flu. They told me that I won't know for sure that they cured my cancer(s) until I die of something else in old age! It can come back any time. But don't give up hope. Treatments for cancer are getting better all the time. I know folks that have been stage 4 cancer and have been through chemo off and on for over 22 years and they are still going strong, raising families, and carrying on. Good luck!

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello Cabbott,

Even though I didn't ask the question, I thank you for your very informative post. I was enlightened by your information.

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