- Remission occurs when there are not obvious signs of cancer cells in the body.
- There are 2 different classifications of remission.
- Doctors use the word 'remission' instead of cure when talking about cancer because they cannot be sure that there are no cancer cells at all in the body. So the cancer could come back in the future, although there is no sign of it at the time.
The 2 different classifications of remission are:
Complete remission means that there are no signs or symptoms of cancer.
Partial remission refers to the point when few signs and symptoms of cancer remain, however there is a noticeable decrease of cancer cells.
How is it measured?
- The tumour-free time period, and is dated from the first, not the last, therapy session.
- Patients with tumours that recur within one month of treatment ending are considered to have had no remission.
- Disappearance of all disease is complete remission; reduction tumour size by more than 50 percent is considered partial remission.
- The critical difference is time. If a patient remains in remission for a several years, one might say that the cancer is cured.
Tests and outcomes to determine state of remission
- The type of remission is determined by a set of laboratory tests and examinations that detect whether or not the cancer has responded to therapy.
- The exact tests performed will depend on the type and extent of the cancer. If a cancer can normally be detected in x-rays, CT scans or other imaging, or blood tests, then the healthcare team will probably repeat these tests looking for changes over time.
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