Methodist Healthcare - October 26, 2023

After you have gone through a cancer journey, your doctor may talk to you about remission and the possibility of recurrence, but what do these terms mean?

What is remission?

Remission indicates that the signs and symptoms of cancer have completely or partially disappeared in response to cancer treatment.

There are different stages of remission, which may be determined by your specific type of cancer.

  • When treatment completely rids the body of cancer cells, it is considered a complete remission.
  • A partial remission means the cancer partially responded to treatment, but part of the tumor or some cancer cells remain. If a patient has had at least a 50 percent reduction in tumor size, it will typically be considered a partial remission.

Remission is determined when the tumor reduction has stayed the same for at least one month. It is important to know that chronic disease, like cancer, can go through cycles of remission making it vitally important that patients be diligent with follow-up care.

What is a recurrence?

A recurrence is when cancer returns after a disease-free period.

It is very common among survivors, who have had successful treatment of their cancer, to be worried about cancer returning. Your care team can provide you with a list of common signs of recurrence for your specific type of cancer, so that you can feel confident in your survivorship journey.

Talk to your care team if you have any of the following common symptoms:

  • New or unusual pain that is unrelated to injury
  • Easy bleeding or unexplained bruising
  • A rash or allergic reaction
  • Chills or fever
  • Frequent headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bloody stools or blood in your urine
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or trouble swallowing
  • A cough that does not go away

If you have other questions related to remission or recurrence, we’re here for you. Methodist Healthcare has been one of the country’s most trusted providers of adult and pediatric cancer programs since 1993 and provides more cancer care than any healthcare system in South Texas.

Have cancer questions? We can help. Methodist Healthcare is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (210) 507-0941.

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