'Contained' after treatment


My dad finished his chemo/radio for small cell lung cancer back in July.  Since then he has had chest infections on and off and is convinced it's the cancer.   He was told, before treatment, that the goal was to shrink/destroy the 4cm tumor.  He had a CT scan a few weeks back and when he had the results he was told that the cancer is contained.

Now, I know that means that it has not spread but I am assuming that this means it has not been 'destroyed'.   Dad continues to have a chesty cough with fatigue.  His next review is in January so I guess that's good?

I was not at the appointment but he tells me that he thinks it is under control....my mum went and she thinks it means the cancer is still present but not spread.   

When and how is the word ' contained' used after treatment?

Thanks, Nance  

  • Hello NanceHope,

    Thanks for getting in touch with us. My name is Linda and I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurses on the Macmillan Support Line.

    It’s understandable that you want to clarify what the cancer team mean by contained.

    It’s difficult for us to say specifically what they mean by this. It may suggest that the cancer is stable and has not grown. I would encourage your dad to clarify this with his cancer team. If he has a lung clinical nurse specialist (CNS), I suggest speaking with them.

    I would also encourage your dad to mention that he has a cough and is feeling fatigued at present. Better to have this checked out and not leave it until he is reviewed in January. It’s possible that he may have another chest infection.

    Normally patients are encouraged to call in between review appointments if they are feeling unwell or are worried about any symptoms. They can arrange an appointment to see him, or they may suggest that he is examined by his GP.

    I hope this information is useful. Please don’t hesitate to get back in contact by email, webchat or phone, if you need further information or support.

    The Macmillan Support Line offers practical, clinical, financial and emotional support. You can call us free from landlines and from most mobile phone networks on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm.

    Best Wishes

    Linda J. Cancer Information Nurse Specialist.

    Ref LJ/KS