Recurrent Cancer: Three Steps for Early Detection

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer recurrence is defined as the return of cancer after treatment and after a period of time that the cancer cannot be detected. Although it’s impossible for doctors to know which patients will experience a recurrence, it’s important to detect a recurrence as early as possible.

Practicing early detection may ensure that a recurrence is found and treated at the earliest stage, potentially increasing the rate of survival. If you or a loved one is concerned about cancer coming back, you can take the steps below to improve your chances of early detection.

1. Monitor your health. Know that your full health history is an important factor for understanding your chances for recurrent cancer. Communicate with your doctor regularly and know what symptoms to be aware of.

2. Educate yourself on treatment options if cancer comes back. Know what approaches may be available to you should you or a loved one experience recurrent cancer. Treatment options can vary when cancer returns, based on the current health of a patient, previous radiation exposure and the stage of cancer. Considering your options will reduce stress and help you to make a decision quickly in the case that your cancer comes back.

3. Understand cancer recurrence can be unpredictable. While it is important to eat healthy and exercise, there is little that can be done to prevent cancer from coming back. Instead, it is more important to watch for signs of cancer to potentially diagnose a recurrence as soon as possible.

CyberKnife Center of Chicago uses CyberKnife® technology to treat recurrent tumors with stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced radiation therapy technique that does not require anesthesia, incisions or a prolonged recovery period. Treatment is complete within five outpatient sessions, and patients typically return to their routines immediately following treatment.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.