Monday, June 6, 2016
National Cancer's Survivor day
I've asked my oncologist over and over again when he will say I'm cancer free and every single time I do, he just ignores me. I don't think doctors like to ever say you're cancer free because really and truly, they can't. There's no way, even with all the MRI'S, CT scans, bone scans, PET scans and other lab tests that can be performed to definitively say there are no cancer cells lurking anywhere in your body. That's why doctors like to say, "we see no evidence of active disease."
Some doctors will say you're in remission, but what does that really mean? If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you’re probably hoping to hear your doctor use the word “remission.” It marks a major turn in your care and long-term health. But it’s more complicated than simply being done with treatment.
There are two types of remission:
Partial remission means the cancer is still there, but your tumor has gotten smaller -- or in cancers like leukemia, you have less cancer throughout your body. Some doctors tell patients to think of their cancer as “chronic,” like heart disease. It’s something you will need to continue to check. If you’re in partial remission, it may mean you can take a break from treatment as long as the cancer doesn’t begin to grow again.
Complete remission means that tests, physical exams, and scans show that all signs of your cancer are gone. Some doctors also refer to complete remission as “no evidence of disease (NED).” That doesn’t mean you are cured.
There’s no way for doctors to know that all of the cancer cells in your body are gone, which is why many doctors don’t use the word “cured.” If cancer cells do come back, it usually happens within the 5 years following the first diagnosis and treatment.
Toward the end of this month, I'll see my oncologist again and I'm going to try to pin him down and make him tell me exactly what the state of my health really is. He's never come right out and said, "Bonnie, you're actively NED," or "Bonnie, I really think we can say you're in remission right now." No...I've never heard the words from Dr. F indicating that I am no longer considered an active cancer patient but I'm going on faith and I'm trusting what I know in my heart to be true! I have been healed of the breast cancer and I am claiming it. I am choosing to walk by faith and not by sight. No matter what my doctor says, I am believing that I am free from all cancer and that's something to celebrate!
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