What is Remission?

Understanding the Difference Between Cure and Remission⁠

Cure means that there are no traces of your cancer after treatment and the cancer will never come back.⁠

Remission means that the signs and symptoms of your cancer are reduced. Remission can be partial or complete. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared.⁠

If you remain in complete remission for 5 years or more, some doctors may say that you are cured. Still, some cancer cells can remain in your body for many years after treatment. These cells may cause the cancer to come back one day. For cancers that return, most do so within the first 5 years after treatment. But, there is a chance that cancer will come back later. For this reason, doctors cannot say for sure that you are cured. The most they can say is that there are no signs of cancer at this time.⁠

Because of the chance that cancer can come back, your doctor will monitor you for many years and do tests to look for signs of cancer’s return. They will also look for signs of late side effects from the cancer treatments you received.⁠

-National Cancer Institute⁠
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