It's normal to worry about what leukemia will mean for you and your family. You may wonder, "What are my chances of being cured?" and "How long will I live?" The answers to these questions are what you may hear health care experts call your prognosis. This is the likely outcome, or course, of your leukemia. Your doctor considers how likely these outcomes are for you when making your prognosis:
Your chance of being cured from cancer
Your chance of having the cancer come back called recurrence
Your chance of dying from the cancer
To make your prognosis, your doctor will use these facts:
The typical outcome for people with your type of leukemia (the average of all these experiences makes up leukemia statistics)
Your doctor's experiences with other patients who have your type of leukemia
Your own case, including the type and subtype of your leukemia and your general health
Ask your doctor to help you understand what the statistics may mean for you. Keep in mind that even your doctor cannot tell you exactly what to expect.
Some people find that learning about their prognosis eases their fears. Some use this information to help them make choices about tests or treatments. Others may not want to know because the prognosis may be confusing or scary. Your doctor is most familiar with your situation and is in the best position to discuss your prognosis with you and explain what the statistics may mean for you. At the same time, you should keep in mind that a person's prognosis may change. A favorable prognosis can change if the leukemia progresses. An unfavorable one can change if treatment is successful. The decision to ask about your prognosis is a personal one. It is up to you to decide how much you want to know.