Treatable but not curable

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Hi, I’m about to start my second month of chemo, 3 weeks on and 1 week off, round 2 starts on Tuesday. I used the cold cap in weeks 1 and 2 then decided it wasn’t for me. Not much hair left now but I am getting my head around that.

Please can someone explain to me in plain and simple English, what exactly does treatable but not curable mean. Do I have cancer for life now? Will I be having treatment for the rest of my life? I need to understand please. Thank you x

  • Hi my understanding is they can't cure you which is my situation but they can keep treating you it's living with cancer hopefully the tumour shrinks and stabilises but people can live with it 

    I also start chemo next week 1 cycle every 3 weeks are you tolerating it ? X

  • Thank you. I had carboplatin and paclitaxel on week 1 and then just paclitaxel on weeks 2 and 3. Week 1 wasn’t good for me, my emotions were all over the place, I started passing clots of blood and then ended in hospital for about 26 hours plus you just don’t know what to expect do you? I’ve been much better since but I am apprehensive about starting again next week. The nurses at the chemo unit are all really good. Good luck next week x

  • Thanks not a lot to look forward to but we've got toget through it x

  • Hello Oakwood51, treatable means your cancer can be controlled and maybe reduced in size, though you may get times when you can have a break from treatment, it is likely  you will have the cancer all your life, though as new treatments are becoming available all the time, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

  • Hello Oakwood51

    The cold cap wasn't for me either although some people manage very well, I lasted all of two minutes!

    You have had a couple of answers which outline very well 'treatable but not curable'.  People do live with cancer and continual treatment, and as eddiel says, new treatments (and trials) are coming all the time.  

    When I was having paclitaxol/carboplatin, the first week my liver levels were high but my oncologist wasn't at all alarmed, she said it is just the body reacting to the chemo.  My dose was reduced by 25% for the rest of the course and I was fine.

    I hope you are feeling a bit better emotionally and I am really pleased that there is a good team at the chemo unit.  It really does make all the difference.  I'll be keeping everything crossed that this next cycle goes well and you don't have any more mishaps.

    Irene xx

  • Hi  ,

    As has already been mentioned, cure isn’t achievable in your particular case but you are treatable which is the really important part!

    Before I began volunteering for MacMillan I didn’t really understand just how many people out there were living with cancer opposed to dying from it!

    Prior to my diagnosis, in my ignorance by my own admission, I thought there were only 2 pathways following a cancer diagnosis those being curable or terminal but soon realised there’s a whole lifetime between those 2 for those that are treatable. 

    I agree wholeheartedly with  , at the moment you’re likely to have cancer to some degree for the rest of your life & with the treatments at the moment you’re treatable but who knows what the next big breakthrough in cancer treatments will be? These advancements are happening daily & in leaps & bounds. 

    Your treatments will continue although you may have wait & see breaks. 


  • Thank you, that helps a lot x

  • That's  a very encouraging g explanation of treatable cancer as I've been told they can't cure me