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The cancer is gone, the question remains | When am i
The diagnosis of cancer is no longer a death sentence. According to statistics, every second person affected can be cured. But what does that mean - and at some point can I be sure that the cancer will really never come back?
“Patients are only cured of cancer when they die of another disease” - that's a joke among cancer doctors. The truth is of course different: BILD answers the most important questions about when cancer patients are cured.
How many people get cancer?
In 2014 there were 476 120 patients - 226 960 men and 249 160 women. The most common type of cancer in men is prostate cancer (57,370 new cases), and in women breast cancer (69,220 new cases). Ascending trend!
Between 2004 and 2014, the absolute number of new cancer cases increased by six percent among men and nine percent among women. This has primarily to do with the fact that our society is getting older.
If you take this effect out of the equation, you can see a decrease in the incidence rate of ten percent in men and an increase of three percent in women. Above all, this has to do with the fact that more women are now also dying from lung cancer and other types of cancer promoted by smoking!
Such is life after cancer
How Many Cancer Patients Can Be Cured?
Basically, it is said that every second cancer can be cured. This statement is based on what is known as the five-year survival rate. That means: Anyone who is cancer-free five years after the initial diagnosis is considered cured. In 2014, this applied to around 50 percent of patients.
Will the cancer never come back then?
You cant say it like that! There is no definite “cured” cancer! Relapses can still occur after the first five years after the initial diagnosis, even if patients are initially cancer-free. But the risk of relapse is generally significantly reduced after five years.
For guidance: The ten-year survival rate for breast cancer is around 66 percent (the first five years survive well over 80 percent). And the 15-year survival rate for children with cancer is 81 percent.
Which types of cancer come back less often than others?
Testicular cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer have high survival rates. At the other end of the scale are mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer.
What do cancer patients need to consider after therapy?
Every cancer patient receives a follow-up plan after therapy and rehabilitation so that relapses can be discovered as early as possible. Up to the end of the five years, the patient usually goes to follow-up appointments at very short intervals (every three to six months). For some types of cancer (e.g. breast and prostate cancer), patients are treated with antihormones for years.
Treatment also takes a long time for patients with leukemia and lymphoma, especially in chronic forms. In these cases, as well as with cancer in the advanced stage, one speaks less of follow-up care than of follow-up.
What are the long-term effects of cancer?
Even if the cancer has been successfully treated, long-term effects of the therapy or the disease can still occur years later. B. Chronic tiredness (fatigue) and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The biggest problem, however, is usually the fear of relapse or the disease's progression. The psychological stress on former cancer patients is often immense, especially before follow-up appointments. Many seek the help of a psycho-oncologist. Cancer counseling centers and self-help groups also offer support.
Technical advice: Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft e. V.
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