We were asked this question a few times. Which date do you use to answer this question? Is it when you first heard that there was a tumour in your body from CT scan when you went to the emergency (3/8/11 in our case)? Is it when they confirmed it's likely to be something bad from MRI scan (5/8/11)? Is it when you had the surgery (8/8/11)? Or... is it when you were confirmed about the pathology result from the surgery before they discharged you (11/8/11)? I know they are all bad but just curious.
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Contributor
I count it as when the doctor said the words "it's cancer" - so for you 11/8/11. But my case was more clear-cut than yours as all my doctors had been very reassuring that it was something benign right up until that moment when they told me it was cancer. It is an interesting issue.
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Frequent Contributor
Hello, I agree with Allicat. I take it as the day that they confirmed that you have cancer. Now, when do you start counting the time of being cancer free? after surgery or after treatment? Yesterday was my 5th anniversary of having surgery when my gyno oncologist told me that they got the cancer and removed my lymph nodes and they all came back clear. I didn't have my radiation until September/October. I have checked with the Red Cross and I cannot donate blood till the actual 5th anniversary of the final day of my radiation. By the way, my specialist does not like using the word "remission" as he said that they can never guarantee that all the cancer has gone. What are other people's thoughts?
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Contributor
Hi Bev, Congratulations on your anniversary! I don't know when you count the 5 years of being cancer-free. The date of the surgery that removed it sounds logical but it probably counts differently for different purposes. I was told that I could never donate blood again - I thought it was because they didn't want blood from people who had had cancer, not because of anything to do with treatment. But since you've checked with the Red Cross that would be more accurate than what the chemo nurse told me. I will have to check it out as I would like to donate. I am confused by the word "remission". I thought it meant that the cancer is gone (or not advancing) but is expected to return. So, the remission is just like a temporary pause. But some people seem to use to it mean that the cancer is gone and the patient is therefore "cured". I guess that is the meaning your surgeon is using.
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Contributor
Hi Bev, I want to ask you a question Do all of us have kemo or radiation when we are finished with it and when we give blood? Good on you when you have arrived with your 5th anniversary and does it make you comfortable when you are cancer free? How many Lymph nodes did the doctor take from you? I had 2 lots of surgery in 2010 and they took 2 lymph nodes from me without kemo or radiation. I have a book called after cancer a guide to your new life and have you heard abou this book as you can get it from breacan. Glenys 0
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Super Contributor
I suspected that I may have cancer in September 2009 because of symptoms . In hindsight I had other symptoms a year before that . I went to my gp in October ,had a ct scan which said polyps .Saw an ENT in February ,1010 ,who said it was not cancer but he removed it a few days later and a couple of days later told me it was cancer. I was also told that it was probably there for 2 to 3 years . I now take my date from when I was told it was cancer . I suppose it doesn't matter which date we choose as it's all approximate . As for remission none of my doctors have used that term with me . I sometimes use it . To me it means that there's no sign of cancer now but it will return . I 've been told by my oncologist that it most probably will, eventually .
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Contributor
For my case it was a long time before it was confirmed as cancer. First ct scan on 20/02/12 was told found lesion in lung which appeared to have malignant markings. First biopsy of lung lesion on 28/02/12 gave inconclusive results, they were hoping it was fungal so waited 4 weeks (totally nerve racking time). Pet scan on 12/04/12 told results would be a wk. Called on 13/04/12 to urgently come in for needle biopsy. 17/04/12 informed 4 hotspots on pet scan, needle biopsy of lung completed. 20/04/12 called and told "u have a tumour, this tumour is malignant, u have lung cancer". Left upper lobectomy on 21/05/12. Informed stage 4 metastasis nsclc on 21/06/12. Started chemo on 28/06/12. I would say it was the date the drs said in black and white "u have cancer".
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