NED, Remission and Cancer-free: What to Know

No evidence of disease is a term used by medical professionals to describe a situation when there is no evidence of cancer after a patient has completed chemotherapy.

The best word or group of words a cancer patient longs to hear is “remission [1]” or “you are in remission”. Hearing this, marks a major turn in your care and long-term health. Although, some may think it basically means the patient is done with treatment, it’s more complicated than that.

Types of remission

There are two main types of remission, they are;

Complete Remission: this means that physical exams, tests, blood films and scans show no sign of the disease. Some medical professionals refer to this state as “no evidence of disease. Although this state is not equivalent to being totally cured.

Doctors usually refrain from telling their patients that they are totally cured from this disease. This is because they cannot be a hundred percent sure if the cancer cells are totally cleared from the patient’s body.

Partial Remission: in this state, the cancer cells are still present in the body but the size of the tumor or the amount of cancer cells has reduced drastically. For example, if a patient with leukemia[2] is confirmed to be in partial leukemia, it means the amount of cancer cells in the person’s body is almost insignificant.

In some cases, doctors inform their patients to think of their cancer as a chronic disease. This simply means that their condition cannot be cured totally but it will need to be treated and monitored closely. Once you are in this state of treatment, you can take a little break from chemotherapy [3], as long as the disease doesn’t come back again. Note this, before your doctor can declare you cured from the disease, the absence of the signs must last for at least one month. Although there is a slim chance of the disease recurring after five years.