If you have multiple nodes involved like myself, when do you consider being "cancer free"? A lot of people say the day of the surgery, but I feel like in my case, there had to been some microscopic cells travelled through my system. So do I celebrate
a. the last day of chemo assuming chemo did it's job,
b the day of my scan after my chemo was completed,
c. The day I got my scan result from my oncologist
My doctor told me he would never use the term cancer free when someone has had an invasive cancer. He calls me "no evidence if disease= NED". I've known too many women who's cancer returned even YEARS later so I understand why he says that. He's probably seen one too many himself. I call myself "surviving".
I say celebrate every day! Each one is its own milestone, and every day is a gift. That might sound trite, but there are no guarantees.
That said, balloons and champagne every day might get old...well, maybe not the champagne :-)
First of all we all have cancer cells, but our just decided to wake up and became active which is why we ended up with cancer. I would never say cancer free especially after having it. On a more positive note, I was also told many different answers when I asked when for we become survivers. After surgery was the most common. I kind of feel after treatment though because going through that was hell and I survived it all. Surgery and treatment = survivor in my mind.
NED -no evidence of disease - sounds so clinical, but "cancer free" is a misnomer, because we are never free from the spectre of what cancer did to us, and what it is capable of doing to our future. I am a survivor, free from the disease and free to help others in their journey.