All clear/in remission/breast cancer

All clear/in remission/breast cancer

All clear/in remission/breast cancer Hi

This probably seems a really silly question but I was just wandering what people say to others when they ask you about your treatment. I have had my chemo, surgery rads and starting herceptin on 2/4/07.

Am I classed as all clear, in remission or am I labelled as having breast cancer for the rest of my long life!!!

I go back to work on the 10th April and I don’t know what to tell people.



Hi Mandy I think the “all clear” thing is falling out of fashion. Oncs prefer to refer to those who appear to be disease free as “NED” -no evidence of disease,or in remission. I think this is because although they may believe someone is “all clear” or “cured” , invasive disease can recur-sometimes many years later, and so “no evidence of disease” is a more accurate term. I can’t really help with what you might say to work colleagues as I refuse to speak to them about it and they know it’s a taboo subject. This is to stop the frequent questions about my health and to encourage them to treat me as they always have before. I have no doubt that when i have to disappear for an appointment there is much wispering and speculation (not in a nasty way)- but as long as they don’t involve me that’s fine. I’m sure many others will be the complete opposite and will be able to give useful tips on what you might say.

Hi Mandy

You have raised a very good question and one we just had on my US support group. My understanding is that you are currently NED - no evidence of the disease.

I must say after my initial treatment and people congratulated me on being “cured” I used to have to educate them. But its not their fault - the stupid media like to say Kylie is “cured” or has “beaten cancer” - not exactly.

The bottom line is you will only ever be NED unless you develop secondaries - but the risk is always there. But as time moves on and you remain NED, your chances of not developing secondaries increases dramatically - ie after 5 years statistically your chances improve - after 10 years the statistics indicate that the great majority of bc sufferers will never develop secondary bc.

However I’ve heard of women developing them after 12 years and met women who still stress about a recurrence after 10 years. But to be honest after 10 years I would think you are more likely to be hit by that bus everyone keeps banging on about in order to make me feel better.

Sadly I only ever met NED for about 6 months.

I wish you better.


I asked my Onc this very same question last week. I was telling people I was in “remission”, however she said she would only use this term to discribe someone who’s tumour was under controll. So I think what the other guys are saying about NED is the way to go. I’m also going back to work around mid April and if comments are made about “all clear” or " treatment all finished" I’m just going to reply “not quite”, If this brings about a a response then I’ll explain about NED and the fact I’m on hormone theraphy for the next 5 years!
All the best with you return to work, Lisa x

All Clear ----- Never Hi - I am a man who has had breast cancer - diagnosed in 2003 - I am still asked if I am ALL CLEAR - my answer is always the same.
People who have had BC are never given the all clear - as you well know cancer can come back in anyone at any time - I had breast cancer the tumor was cut out, I am OK today - but it can come back at anytime.

Therefore the answer is Clear for now…

Good Luck - David W

Hi guys

I keep getting asked the same question so asked my onc the other week what I should say to people. As Mearing said, he told me ‘in remission’ is used to describe a disease that is under control but expected to flare up again at some point in the future. All clear would never be used by a healthcare professional as there is always a risk of something coming back.

However, what he said to me was that my treatment was intended to be ‘curative’ because the surgery got rid of the cancer and the chemo & rads were ‘just in case’ there were any other cells that had skipped past my non-infected lymph nodes.

I don’t know. I just tell people now that for the next 10 years there will be more of a risk but for the moment, as far as my consultants are concerned there is no cancer in my body.

Its a difficult one hey with all the rubbish that the press print. People really do think that ‘all clear’ is a valid medical term that anyone with a serious illness should expect to hear at some point to know that they are well again!!

S x