What if cancer comes back?

Many cancers can be very successfully treated but unfortunately, cancer does sometimes come back.

This can be a devastating experience, but it doesn't mean that the cancer can't be treated again. Many cancers can be treated even if they have come back (recurred) for a second or third time.

However, further treatment may not be able to cure the cancer. If this is the case, your doctor may suggest treatments that will prolong your life and help to keep you as well as possible for as long as possible. If no further treatments can be given to control the cancer, medicines can still be used to relieve any symptoms you may have that are caused by the cancer.

This can be a frightening time for you, and you may feel that you need extra support. You can to talk to our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00, or the people close to you. You may find it helpful to talk through the thoughts, feelings and fears that a recurrence of cancer can bring. Our section on coping with advanced cancer may be helpful.

You may want to look into whether any new treatments are being tested in research trials for your type of cancer. If you want to explore this further, you can speak to your hospital specialist, who can find out whether there are any new treatments that would be suitable for you.

Back to Care after treatment

Your care

After your treatment ends you will receive follow-up care from your healthcare team and you may have tests and scans to check your health.