Differences between healing cancer and curing cancer

Differences between healing cancer and curing cancer

To begin with, "healing is fundamentally distinct from curing." There are three ways in which the word cure is used in cancer. One definition of cancer cure is a bit of statistical sophistry. You are sometimes said to be cured of cancer if you live five years without any sign of recurrence of the disease. That is not a real cure.That is a five-year survival.

The second use of the word "cure" is the one that matters for you. You are by definition cured of a disease if you have been treated, the disease disappears, and you live as long as you would have lived if you never had the disease. That is a cure. An individual cure of this kind can in theory be achieved with conventional treatments, or complementary treatments, or some combination of both--or even with no treatments at all--as long as the disease disappears and you live as long you would have lived if you had never had cancer.

The third use of the word "cure" in cancer goes beyond the individual, and it is also very important to you. A specific treatment for a specific type of cancer is said to be a cure for that cancer if, in some substantial proportion of cases, the treatment means that the cancer never returns. If a conventional cancer treatment exists that is curative for any form of cancer, I always strong encourage patients to use it, and use it promptly, because, as we will see later, "there are no known systemically curative treatments for cancer among the complementary therapies."

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