Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow in an uncontrolled manner. These abnormal cells may eventually spread into other tissues. While there are surgeries and other methods to treat cancer, early detection improves the chances of successful treatment. Despite everything, there is always a risk of cancer coming back. The very idea of this happening can cause a myriad of emotions, from shock to fear. Cancer can take anywhere from weeks to years to return after the initial treatment. The reason behind this can vary as can the type of cancer recurrence. Here is all you need to know about this condition:
What Is Cancer Recurrence?
When cancer returns after treatment or removal, doctors refer to it as a recurrence or recurrent cancer. This might come back in the same place it first started, or somewhere entirely different in the body. When cancer spreads to a new body part, it’s still named after the site where it began.
Types of Cancer Recurrence
Depending on where it has developed and how far it has spread, the following type of cancer recurrence can occur:
- Local recurrence means the cancer is in the same place or very close to the original site.
- Regional recurrence refers to the tumour being grown into lymph nodes or tissues near the original site of cancer.
- Distant recurrence refers to cancer that has spread to organs or tissues far from the original site. This is also called metastasis or metastatic cancer. When cancer spreads, it is still named after the same type of cancer.
Reasons Behind Cancer Recurrence
It is important to note that the less time there is between the cancer being treated and the time it comes back, the more serious the situation. Here are three reasons why this can happen:
The first reason behind cancer recurrence is that the initial treatment did not eliminate all the cancer cells. When these were left behind, it grew into a new tumour. Another reason can be that some cancer cells have spread elsewhere in the body. Wherever they have spread, they started growing there and formed a tumour.
The third reason why cancer recurrence can occur is that the cancer cells have become resistant to treatment. This means chemotherapy or radiation may have killed most of the cancer cells, though some of them were either not affected or changed enough to survive.
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