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Colorectal Cancer: Recurrence: Managing Medical Care

What Is Colorectal Cancer Recurrence?

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Colorectal cancer recurrence is the return of cancer after treatment and after a period of time during which the cancer cannot be detected (a period frequently referred to as “remission”).

A recurrence may be in the area of the colorectal gland where it started or it could have spread to other parts of the body. Even if it shows up in other parts of the body, it is still known as colorectal cancer because the cells are colorectal cancer cells. When the original cancer spreads to a new place, it is called a metastasis (meh-TAS-tuh-sis).

A recurrent cancer starts with cancer cells that the first treatment did not fully remove or destroy. Some may have been too small to be seen in follow-up. This does not mean that the treatment you received was wrong. And it does not mean that you did anything wrong either. It just means that a small number of cancer cells survived the treatment. These cells grew over time into tumors or cancer that your doctor can now detect.

It is possible to develop a completely new cancer that has nothing to do with your original cancer. This doesn't happen very often. Recurrences are more common. If the cancer is not related to your first cancer, it is called a Secondary Primary Cancer.

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