What the future holds
Researchers are finding better ways to treat leukemia, and the chances of recovery keep improving. Still, it is natural for patients and their families to be concerned about the future. Sometimes people use rates of survival and other statistics to try to figure out whether a patient will be cured or how long the patient will live. It is important to remember, however, that statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a certain patient because no two patients are alike. Treatments and responses vary greatly.
The doctor who takes care of the patient is in the best position to discuss the chance of recovery (prognosis). Patients and their families should feel free to ask the doctor about the prognosis. They should keep in mind that not even the doctor knows exactly what will happen. Doctors often talk about surviving cancer, or they may use the term remission, rather than cure. Even though many leukemia patients are cured, doctors use these terms because the disease can recur.
The National Cancer Institute, May 2001
Last reviewed May 2001 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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