Eli5 how people who are now Cancer free get cancer again?

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Seems like so many people say i was stage 1 and it was all gone and now 1 yr later i an stage 4. There’s no point in celebrating when the dr say the cancers gone bc it seems like everyone just gets another round of it?

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12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Having cancer is probably the single greatest risk factor for getting cancer again later.

The first scenario is obvious – a couple cells escaped the first time and have since repopulated and formed another tumor.

The second scenario is astronomically bad luck – you have a genetic mutation that pre-disposes you to cancer and every cell in your body is susceptible. People with certain juvenile cancers are very likely to have a recurrence a few years later.

The third scenario involves the treatment itself – a lot of cancer treatments are really bad for you. They’re nasty poisons or radiation treatments that are specifically targeting human cells. It’s unpleasant, but better than dying.

You survive, but a lot of your cells have been damaged in the process and are themselves now more likely to become cancerous in the future.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Having cancer is probably the single greatest risk factor for getting cancer again later.

The first scenario is obvious – a couple cells escaped the first time and have since repopulated and formed another tumor.

The second scenario is astronomically bad luck – you have a genetic mutation that pre-disposes you to cancer and every cell in your body is susceptible. People with certain juvenile cancers are very likely to have a recurrence a few years later.

The third scenario involves the treatment itself – a lot of cancer treatments are really bad for you. They’re nasty poisons or radiation treatments that are specifically targeting human cells. It’s unpleasant, but better than dying.

You survive, but a lot of your cells have been damaged in the process and are themselves now more likely to become cancerous in the future.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Having cancer is probably the single greatest risk factor for getting cancer again later.

The first scenario is obvious – a couple cells escaped the first time and have since repopulated and formed another tumor.

The second scenario is astronomically bad luck – you have a genetic mutation that pre-disposes you to cancer and every cell in your body is susceptible. People with certain juvenile cancers are very likely to have a recurrence a few years later.

The third scenario involves the treatment itself – a lot of cancer treatments are really bad for you. They’re nasty poisons or radiation treatments that are specifically targeting human cells. It’s unpleasant, but better than dying.

You survive, but a lot of your cells have been damaged in the process and are themselves now more likely to become cancerous in the future.

Anonymous 0 Comments

‘cancer free’ is not a literal term. Since cancer takes too many forms to get into, the broadest meaning to the term is that ‘we can no longer detect clumps of cancer cells’. Since it is basically impossible to scan every single cell in an organ or the human body, this is not a 100% guarantee.

With luck, the body handles any remaining cancer by itself.

But cancer is, unfortunately, something that recurs and folks who have had it are at high risk of it coming back.

Anonymous 0 Comments

‘cancer free’ is not a literal term. Since cancer takes too many forms to get into, the broadest meaning to the term is that ‘we can no longer detect clumps of cancer cells’. Since it is basically impossible to scan every single cell in an organ or the human body, this is not a 100% guarantee.

With luck, the body handles any remaining cancer by itself.

But cancer is, unfortunately, something that recurs and folks who have had it are at high risk of it coming back.

Anonymous 0 Comments

‘cancer free’ is not a literal term. Since cancer takes too many forms to get into, the broadest meaning to the term is that ‘we can no longer detect clumps of cancer cells’. Since it is basically impossible to scan every single cell in an organ or the human body, this is not a 100% guarantee.

With luck, the body handles any remaining cancer by itself.

But cancer is, unfortunately, something that recurs and folks who have had it are at high risk of it coming back.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cancer can be poorly described as “broken cells that failed to self-destruct like they were supposed to.”

Since your body is made up of living cells you always have a risk of those cells failing to self-destruct when they’re supposed to. The biggest indicator that this might happen is that it’s happened before.

Also it’s really, really hard to get every last broken cell. “Curing” cancer is getting you to the point where they can’t find any more broken cells. Hopefully when they get it to that point your immune system can handle the rest, but it doesn’t always.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cancer can be poorly described as “broken cells that failed to self-destruct like they were supposed to.”

Since your body is made up of living cells you always have a risk of those cells failing to self-destruct when they’re supposed to. The biggest indicator that this might happen is that it’s happened before.

Also it’s really, really hard to get every last broken cell. “Curing” cancer is getting you to the point where they can’t find any more broken cells. Hopefully when they get it to that point your immune system can handle the rest, but it doesn’t always.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cancer can be poorly described as “broken cells that failed to self-destruct like they were supposed to.”

Since your body is made up of living cells you always have a risk of those cells failing to self-destruct when they’re supposed to. The biggest indicator that this might happen is that it’s happened before.

Also it’s really, really hard to get every last broken cell. “Curing” cancer is getting you to the point where they can’t find any more broken cells. Hopefully when they get it to that point your immune system can handle the rest, but it doesn’t always.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you’re talking the same or a related type of cancer, they generally won’t say it is “cured” when you are cancer free for most cancers. They will say it is in remission, and you generally will have to have follow-up screenings at intervals, at most a year. Some doctors may say that after 5 years of being in remission you are “cured” and truly cancer free, because it is a lot less likely to return at that point.

Someone who has their cancer come back a year later was never really cancer free, it just was not detectable.