Terminology ....

Bee79 Ngunnawal ACTMember Posts: 3
I am between surgery and radiation for Early Stage breast cancer - results clear margins, no lymph node involvement so hopefully no chemo - see medical oncologist Friday. My question relates to how I talk to people. Do I HAVE breast cancer or have I HAD breast cancer? Is it at the end of treatment that I can say HAD or ......?? Maybe a trivial thing but for others it may help them understand where I am at.
Cheers Lisa


  • Afraser
    Afraser MelbourneMember Posts: 4,075
    Say what feels best for you! Radiation and chemo essentially mop up
    any cells that escaped the knife. They may or may not be there. ‘I’ve had cancer, now I am having treatment to make sure it’s all gone’ is pretty accurate. Best wishes for the next steps. 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 708
    Hi yes I agree with the above , whatever works for you.
    I had stage 2 cancer , mastectomy , no lymph node involvement , radiotherapy , no chemo and am now on hormone therapy for at least 5 years.
    I say I “had”  breast cancer but I am taking tablets to help ensure it doesn’t come back.
    I think the old terminology was “ being in remission”.
    all the best🌺
  • Afraser
    Afraser MelbourneMember Posts: 4,075
    Remission: A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

    Given the use of remission to often mean a significant decrease in symptoms but still some evidence of cancer, No Evidence of Disease (NED) is often used now, to mean exactly what it says. 

    The joy of labels! 
  • arpie
    arpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,507
    Whilst I am still taking Meds/AIs, I just say I am having treatment for Cancer - as it still affects you physically and mentally due to the side effects of the meds ..... and then they know that the game isn't over yet .....

    take care & all the best with your ongoing treatment, @Bee79

  • Cath62
    Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 1,000
    Hi, I had surgery and after that I said I had breast cancer. It was cut out so gone. Mentally it felt better so say it was gone. I had chemo, radium and now Letrozole for yrs. All this treatment is to ensure it doesn't return. It's all serious heavy duty treatment for sure but I don't have cancer or as @Afraser, said NED.