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What is Chronic Cancer?

Oncology India

Oncology India

  Malleswaram, Bengaluru     May 9, 2019

   3 min     

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Chronic Cancer is cancer that does not entirely go away, but prolonged treatment, also called long-term treatment, can control for months or years. As with other chronic diseases including type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis, the goal of continued cancer treatment is to help patients live as long as possible. Since you live with incurable cancer for an indefinite time, this is not easy. Your medical team can help you manage the challenges of survival and prolonged treatment.

Reasons for Prolonged Treatment

Prolonged treatment lasts long after an initial diagnosis of cancer and primary treatment. People can receive continuous therapy for:

  • Controlling cancer: Leukemia, Ovarian Cancer, Lymphoma, Breast Cancer is more likely to become chronic. Prolonged treatment can help prevent the growth, spread or progression of the disease. This is also known as maintenance treatment. For instance, patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are recommended to take medication daily for many years.
  • Managing advanced cancer: Metastatic cancer, which signifies that the cancer has spread to another part of the body from which it has started, can also become chronic. Many years ago, people with metastatic cancer were not able to live for long years. But today, the advanced treatment is allowing patients to survive for many years, even if the disease is not healed.
  • Preventing cancer from returning: Some people whose cancer are cured may need long-term treatment to prevent it from returning. For example, a patient with early stage breast cancer whose cancer is cured using radiation therapy or surgery may require long-term treatment such as hormone therapy to keep it from getting back.

Treatment for Chronic Cancer

For the treatment of chronic cancer, chemotherapy is often used to kill or destroy the cancerous cells. You may receive the same medication as you have initially received to treat the disease or you may receive a new set of drugs. Moreover, many types of chemotherapy can now be taken as a pill through the mouth instead of intravenously, through a vein.

Other prolonged treatments for incurable cancer include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy. The type of prolonged treatment you get may depend on the following conditions:

  • Your age
  • The type of cancer you have
  • The amount of cancer you have
  • The location of the cancer
  • Your previous health history
  • Your personal preferences
  • Available treatment options
  • How far the cancer has spread
  • The treatments you had before

How long will extended treatment continue?

There is no mentioned timeline for the prolonged treatment of chronic cancer. However, your doctor may consider the following conditions:

  • Your overall health condition
  • Your age
  • The type of cancer you have
  • The kind of treatment you are receiving
  • How well your body is responding to the recommended treatment
  • How the medication makes you feel emotionally and physically
  • How aggressive or advanced cancer is

Tips for managing chronic cancer

Living with incurable cancer is very challenging. Following are the tips that can help you achieve the condition and maintain a healthy life

  • Enroll a survivorship care plan with the help of your doctor
  • Find the best way to manage cancer and its side effects
  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Visit for recommended follow-up tests and exam
  • Explore rehabilitation options
  • Ask about financial resources
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes

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Tags:  cancer,chronic cancer,prolonged treatment,treatment of chronic cancer,incurable cancer ,

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