For some people, cancer is a one-time event. They go through treatment and recovery, and the disease does not return. For others, cancer may not ever fully disappear. Their cancer may respond to treatment and then come back, or treatment may simply keep it from growing and spreading. For people living with cancer, it's important to understand what it means when cancer doesn't go away – and how remission and recurrence may be part of your cancer journey.
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When a cancer comes back after treatment, it is known as cancer recurrence. The cancer sometimes returns at the same spot (known as local recurrence) or it may show up in parts of the body that were not previously affected. Some types of cancers, such as ovarian cancer, are more likely to return than others. People with recurring cancer may need multiple rounds of treatment or they may need to change the type of treatment they receive.
Remember that even when a cure is not possible, treatment may help keep cancer at bay. If you have cancer that does not go away, talk to your doctor about what options may be right for you.