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