Unfortunately, a remission for your hematologic cancer is not the same as a cure. Remission is the term used to refer to the reduction or elimination of symptoms, physical findings, or test results indicating the presence of the cancer. It is called partial remission if the symptoms, findings, and test results are reduced, and complete remission if they are eliminated. However, even a complete remission does not mean that every cancer cell has been destroyed, so the remaining cells may continue to divide, thus causing the disease to recur. Individuals with acute leukemia are routinely treated with additional therapy after they have achieved a remission with initial (induction) chemotherapy, because of the significant possibility of cancer cells remaining.
Elizabeth F. Connelly, DO
Specialty: Hematology & Oncology
- Hematology & Oncology
- Internal Medicine
Location and Office HoursMaine Center For Cancer Medicine
81 Medical Ctr Dr Ste 1300
Brunswick, ME 04011
- monday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
- tuesday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
- wednesday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
- thursday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
- friday: 8:00AM - 4:00PM
- Maine Medical Center Bramhall Campus
- Mercy Hospital State Street Campus
- MidCoast Hospital
- Parkview Adventist Medical Center
- Sanford Medical Center & The Pavilion
- Southern Maine Medical Center
- Waldo County General Hospital
- Is a remission the same as a cure for my hematologic cancer?
What are the symptoms of hematologic cancers?
Hematologic cancers may cause a number of symptoms. Several of the most common are weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, frequent infections, enlarged lymph nodes, distended or painful abdomen (due to enlarged abdominal organs), bone or joint pain, fractures, unplanned weight loss, poor appetite, night sweats, persistent mild fever, and decreased urination (due to impaired kidney function). Certain symptoms are more likely to occur with some cancers than others. For example, bone pain is more frequently found in myeloma, and enlarged lymph nodes are most common with lymphoma. The specific effects of the enlarged lymph nodes depend on the location and size of these nodes.
How do medications treat hematologic cancers?
Chemotherapy drugs are the primary medications used to treat hematologic cancers. These drugs, also known as anticancer drugs, function by killing cancer cells. When administered as pills or through a vein, these drugs travel to most areas of the body, including the bone marrow and lymphatic systems where hematologic cancers are based. Some of these drugs, however, have difficulty entering the brain and spinal cord or their surrounding membranes (meninges). Because leukemic cells may invade the meninges, chemotherapy drugs are sometimes injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, from which they can easily enter the meninges. Immunotherapy drugs are another group of medications that are becoming increasingly used to treat hematologic cancers. They do not directly kill the cancer cells but act by altering a person's immune system so that it destroys the cancer cells.
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