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Jesta23 t1_jd65dd2 wrote

I want to add some context to the term complete remission. I was almost killed because of the misunderstanding of it.

In Leukemia, a Complete remission is an outdated metric. Many years ago we had limited ability to detect cancer cells in bone marrow. If you run that test and dont see any cancer cells then it is termed as a complete remission. This sounds wonderful, and many drug companies use this as the basis for their reporting because it makes their drugs look better than they are.

Today, there are tests that can see cancer cells thousands of times better than a complete remission. What we as laymen would call a "complete remission." is actually called MRD negative in leukemia. Any study that does not mention MRD status of the patients is not reporting the full facts and using the term Complete remission as publicity to get investments.

EDIT: since someone pmed me to ask, When I was diagnosed I was given the option of several treatments. The one the doctor wanted me to accept was presented as "99% of patients on this plan have a complete remission in 6months, and it has far less side effects than these other treatments. So obviously I accepted that one. 99% chance of being cancer free? low to no side effects? fuck yeah sign me up doc!

After reading all night I discovered the real terminology in leukemia and found that the treatment I just signed up for had a 99% complete remission rate, but only a 47% MRD negative rate, and a 34% 5 year survivability rate.

While another option had no reported complete remission rate, because its a shitty outdated metric, but had a 88% MRD negative rate, and a 77% 5 year survivability rate.

The option that I was nearly tricked into accepting is far cheaper, and since I had just lost my job (due to being sick.) they were looking to save money.