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Use lessons from your initial treatment to give you confidence and strength as you face the anger and fear that comes with a cancer recurrence.
Subscribe to our Living With Cancer e-newsletter to stay up to date on cancer topics.
Your cancer is back, and so are the shock and fear that came with your first diagnosis. The uncertainties are back, too, and you wonder about more cancer treatment and about your future.
The distress you feel is normal — some say the second cancer diagnosis can be more distressing than the first.
When cancer returns after a period of remission, it's considered a recurrence. A cancer recurrence happens because, in spite of the best efforts to rid you of your cancer, some cells from your cancer remained.
These cells could be in the same place where your cancer first originated, or they could be in another part of your body. These cancer cells may have been dormant for a period of time, but eventually they continued to multiply, resulting in the reappearance of the cancer.
A cancer recurrence means it's the same cancer coming back after some period of time. In rare cases, you may be diagnosed with a new cancer that's completely unrelated to your first cancer. This is referred to as a second primary cancer.
Your cancer can recur in the same place it was originally located, or it can migrate to other parts of your body. Recurrence is divided into three categories:
Where your cancer recurs depends on your original cancer type and stage. Some cancer types commonly recur in specific areas.
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