ZocdocAnswersDoes cancer spread if it has been eliminated and is in remission?

Question

Does cancer spread if it has been eliminated and is in remission?

My father had testicular cancer and now it is all cleared up or in remission. Does this mean that the cancer can spread to other parts of his body while is better? Can one cancer turn into another kind of cancer?

Answer

Cancer can and sometimes does recur even if it is treated and has gone into remission. Sometimes a primary cancer, say a testicular cancer, though treated, may show up in the lungs or the liver making you think that you have a new cancer. But in reality it is the same biological cancer as the primary site, just in a different location. Testicular cancer most commonly affects men between the age of 20-35. It is usually curable. For testicular cancer the treatment is excellent. About 95 percent of men are cured of this cancer with treatments which include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Even when it has spread, this cancer is typically still responsive to chemotherapy. Some cancers are very treatable, and once treated, they almost never recur while other cancers will recur after being in remission. The prognosis for testicular cancer is very good. Most men will live a long and healthy life after treatment. However, occasionally it can and does recur. Therefore, it is very important to keep surveillance. Cancer treatments demand a life changing process and patients are very good in staying tune to changes in their bodies. When unusual symptoms arise, it is important to have a follow-up with an oncologist. Symptoms like pain, swelling, aches, shortness of breath, weight loss without trying are some of the signs that should be investigated. I would suggest a visit with a primary care physician soon.

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