When the symptoms of a disease disappear or become less severe, the disease is said to be “in remission.” This term is frequently applied to patients who have experienced and fought off cancer. Following the initial diagnosis, these patients likely underwent a series of treatments in order to improve their prognosis, gradually diminishing the effect of the disease.
Ultimately, medical professionals declare the illness is in remission when the disease becomes absent for an extended period of time. This does not, however, guarantee that the illness will never return. While statistical data can provide patients with information regarding the likelihood of the disease reappearing in their system, there are as of yet no methods to accurately predict whether the patient will be afflicted again.
Remission vs. Cure
While the term remission is frequently used in common parlance as equivalent to “being cured,” that is in truth not the case. The time frame for some forms of cancer remission are short lived, especially in the case of more serious diseases such as mesothelioma. When attempting to determine a prognosis for the patient, it is important to distinguish what type of remission the patient is undergoing.
The two kinds of remission are complete, where there are no detectable signs of the cancer, and partial, where symptoms of the cancer still exist but the amount of destructive cells in the body has diminished to the point where the effects are negligible. It is important to note that even with complete remission it is possible that the cancer will return at some point.
Recurring Cancer Prognosis
If the cancer re-emerges, the patient will likely have to undergo another set of treatments in order to reduce pain and remove any dangerous cells. Again, in the case of advanced forms of cancer such as mesothelioma, the prognosis is typically grim.
Most treatments for this disease are targeted at alleviating pain rather than trying to cure the cancer. This is in part due to the difficulty in detecting the disease. Since mesothelioma has very few recognizable symptoms, it is not uncommon for the disease to progress undetected, whereas other cancers may be caught earlier and given the full range of early treatment required to bring the disease into remission.