We all know the big C- cancer. But there is a second C those of use diagnosed all want, the second C word is Cure. It seems like a word now not often used in the cancer community. Though 11 years cancer-free, I am still considered “long term remission”, still see an oncologist (thought only annually now). The “cure” word we want would mean we are forever done with cancer, don’t need testing or oncology appointments, that we can move on with our lives and not feel vulnerable anymore. But we don’t get that word now. We don’t get the “second C”. I thought of that as tonight I received an email from WebMD….don’t remember how I got on their mailing list, but the topic of today’s post was “The Big Question: Am I Cured?“.
I remember in my younger years, if someone survived cancer free for 5 years, they were considered “cured”. But some cancers recur many years later- my aunt had a breast cancer recurrence 17 years after her initial diagnosis. After 17 years of being cancer-free, her cancer came back. Some renal cancer patients have recurrences up to 20 years later. So now, the medical providers are afraid to use the word “cure”, though we so long to hear that word.