If you’re no longer seeing the signs or feeling the symptoms of your cancer, you may be in remission. But it’s important to note that remission, according to the National Cancer Institute, is different than being cancer free, because remission can include both partial and total freedom from cancer. In advanced cases, the cancer may never completely go away. That’s why even if you’ve completed treatment and entered into remission, it’s essential to monitor your situation closely and remain in constant contact with your doctor.

The rigors of chemo, radiation, surgery, and therapy help achieve remission. But that’s only half the battle. Staying there is the other. Recurrence is real––though it is unlikely that breast cancer survivors will ever see a return of their cancer, true peace of mind and assurance can only come from regular follow up exams and consistent communication with your healthcare provider. Some lifestyle changes help mitigate your risk:

  • Maintain a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins
  • Limit alcohol intake to a single drink per day
  • Exercise regularly and manage your weight
  • Find ways to manage stress that work for you
  • Most importantly: visit your doctor, get your annual mammograms and other tests, and establish a Survivorship Care Plan