How to answer! Am I in remission?

I was asked today if I was remission, and being Stage 3 when diagnosed five years ago, and now had all the necessary treatment I wondered how to answer that. My yearly mammogram and Ultrasound was in January, and all clear, nothing going on that was detected.  So when I asked if I was in remission and when did I go into remission the questioned floored me so I just replied, oh yes been a couple of years now.  This was asked in front of others, and thankfully I just took it in my stride.  But really?  People ask this? 


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,269
    This gets asked a lot. My own understanding (may be wrong) is that when cancer is still detectable but is no longer developing and may be shrinking/reducing, it’s in remission. When cancer cannot be detected, it’s NED (no evidence of disease). 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,269
    And yes, people do ask. Mainly they mean well, hoping that the answer is that the cancer is going or gone! But it can be a bit unnerving. 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,036
    I mainly get asked “ is everything ok now” and I say “ yes”.
    Sometimes people say “ you are looking well” and I say “ yes I am feeling well”.
    Everyone close to me knows the details of my treatment which is finished apart from the Letrazole.
    Humans are naturally curious and usually mean well.
    Before I had cancer I didn’t know much about it and I think that is still true of many people.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,179
    I have been asked if I am ok alot. I simply say yes I am ok. People tell me I look great but I don't always feel great. I just think I am best just to not elaborate because while people mean well they really only want to hear everything is fine.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,276
    edited February 2022
    If they ask me that specifically. ... I will say  'Hopefully!' .. so they know it is not necessarily 'over' yet, as many assume you are automatically cured from the end of active treatment!

    If they ask how I am, I'll say FINE and usually I am! 

  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    edited February 2022
    One of my least fav invasions. Just behind the perennial 'What's your prognosis?'

    I don't think those who ask realise what a deeply personal and confronting question that is. Yes, most folk are just trying to engage with you or show they know the terminology. Some are purely curious (which I find ghoulish)

    'None of your business' for strangers if I'm having a bad day or if I decide they are looking for gossip. I simply change the subject if I'm feeling more benevolent. 

    'That's a private matter' can shut down anyone who is not part of your inner circle. Those folk already know.

    I'm tired of being nice because it makes other people feel better. If they want to make someone who has had a cancer diagnosis feel better, they won't ask questions like that.

    I understand it is not our 'job' to educate the gormless. But after all these years of personal uncertainty, I'm done.

  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 538
    I agree with many of the responses here.  Those that ask are you in remission or what is your prognosis really do mean well.  One time I was asked what is my prognosis, so I just answered my plan is to live!   This was a neighbour and she can see I am still alive and kicking for the time being, as is she, whether cancer or not!  

    Thank you to all that responded to this thread, and next time I should be more prepared to that question... are you in remission?  Next time I will just say there is NED (no evidence of disease).  :)
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,269

    I’d have been tempted to throw the question back to your rude interlocutor! Very few humans know how long they’ve got. In their hurry to sound knowledgeable, some betray their own assumptions. 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,269

    Good for you! One can only imagine what other insensitive comments he made in a job that must have brought him in regular contact with people in difficult circumstances. 
  • TonyaM
    TonyaM Member Posts: 2,826
    As far as I know,I’m cancer free. This is my standard answer now
  • Caz1
    Caz1 Member Posts: 382
    Love all these many great replies :)