Cancer is back/Recurred - LauraL

Oh No Associated with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. Posted on February 26, 2012 View this journey (6 Experiences)

I relapsed after 14 years of remission. How is that possible?!?!

4 Comments
  • po18guy's Avatar
    po18guy

    Welcome, Laurel! Doctors are now beginning to think in terms of our bodies having a cancer "stem cell", since the exact mutation can occur after years or decades of remission. This is purely hypothetical at this point, and is a type of reverse engineering. It is based on how cancer acts, and attempts to explain its recurrence by tracing it to a common source. There 'may' be a mutated cell somewhere in the body that lies dormant and begins the cloning process only after being triggered by some external factor.

    over 9 years ago
  • LauraL's Avatar
    LauraL

    Hi Po18guy,
    My onc. dismissed this idea when I brought it up to him... But who knows? Unfortunately there aren't too many people in similar circumstances as me, who've had the same cancers as children and then to relapse as an adult (but my peds. experience was far from ordinary too). I've been to 2 lymphoma specialists and both were puzzled to see me and hear about my history. One at Georgetown said that he'd never had a patient like me in over 20 years of practicing!
    I used to like to hear people say that I was a unique individual... But now I cringe whenever a medical professional says it to me!! :)

    over 9 years ago
  • po18guy's Avatar
    po18guy

    First, apologies for my bad reading eyes, "LauraL" :-O I learned of the stem cell theory through my oncologist, who is a research fellow at Fred Hutchinson in Seattle. This is only theory, but at least provides a plausible explanation for an identical cancer returning long after remission. I don't know of any other explanation, and the standard "we just don't know" does not offer any explanation at all. When I offered to him that it seems like medical science knows about one-thousandth of one percent of what there is to know about cancer, he smiled and replied, "If that."

    As disappointing as your relapse is, there is more hope now than ever. Let us pray that it is quickly put in remission once more.

    over 9 years ago
  • LauraL's Avatar
    LauraL

    I agree that the medical community doesn't know all there is about cancer and I can see the validity of the stem cell theory. Luckily most oncologists do keep up to date on the latest research, but unfortunately the research changes so frequently that its difficult to know what is "best". So much has changed since I was a peds patient.
    But personally, I didn't want to undergo a transplant. I just couldn't get over the fact that for such a risky procedure, it wasn't a cure-all. And, at 27 I just want a cure-all. I decided to save it as my Plan B option in case of a relapse. Which I hope never happens (again...).
    Thanks so much for your support! And so glad to read about your continued remission!! Whoo-hoo!!

    over 9 years ago

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