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Lung Cancer Recurrence

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Updated September 10, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Lung cancer recurrence refers to a lung cancer that returns following treatment, and after a period of time in which your doctor was unable to detect any signs of lung cancer (sometimes called remission).

Even though a cancer appears to be removed completely, and cannot be detected on imaging studies, in some cases a few cancer cells remain which can later grow and present as a cancer recurrence.

Lung cancer may recur:

  • locally - in the lung near the original tumor
  • regionally - in a lymph node located near the original tumor, or
  • distantly - in region distant from the original tumor, such as the liver or brain (metastatic lung cancer)

The risk of having a lung cancer recurrence depends on many factors, including the type of lung cancer and location, the stage of lung cancer, and the treatments used.

Lung cancer recurrence can be heart-wrenching, as you go from believing your cancer is cured, to again facing treatments for cancer.

Learn More About Lung Cancer Recurrence:

Also Known As: relapse
Examples:
Joe was told that he had a recurrence of his lung cancer when he saw his doctor to discuss his CT scan.

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