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Cure


A cure is the end of a medical condition; the substance or procedure that ends the medical condition, such as a medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle, or even a philosophical mindset that helps end a person's sufferings; or the state of being healed, or cured.

A remission is a temporary end to the medical signs and symptoms of an incurable disease. A disease is said to be incurable if there is always a chance of the patient relapsing, no matter how long the patient has been in remission. An incurable disease may or may not be a terminal illness; conversely, a curable illness can still result in the patient's death.

The proportion of people with a disease that are cured by a given treatment, called the cure fraction or cure rate, is determined by comparing disease-free survival of treated people against a matched control group that never had the disease.

Another way of determining the cure fraction and/or "cure time" is by measuring when the hazard rate in a diseased group of individuals returns to the hazard rate measured in the general population.

Inherent in the idea of a cure is the permanent end to the specific instance of the disease. When a person has the common cold, and then recovers from it, the person is said to be cured, even though the person might someday catch another cold. Conversely, a person that has successfully managed a disease, such as diabetes mellitus, so that it produces no undesirable symptoms for the moment, but without actually permanently ending it, is not cured.

Related concepts, whose meaning can differ, include response, remission and recovery.

In complex diseases, such as cancer, researchers rely on statistical comparisons of disease-free survival (DFS) of patients against matched, healthy control groups. This logically rigorous approach essentially equates indefinite remission with cure. The comparison is usually made through the Kaplan-Meier estimator approach.



  • A response is a partial reduction in symptoms after treatment.
  • A recovery is a restoration of health or functioning. A person who has been cured may not be fully recovered, and a person who has recovered may not be cured, as in the case of a person in a temporary remission or who is an asymptomatic carrier for an infectious disease.
  • Prevention is a way to avoid an injury, sickness, disability, or disease in the first place, and generally it will not help someone who is already ill (though there are exceptions). For instance, many babies and young children are vaccinated against polio and other infectious diseases, which prevents them from contracting polio. But the vaccination does not work on patients who already have polio. A treatment or cure is applied after a medical problem has already started.
  • Therapy treats a problem, and may or may not lead to its cure. In incurable conditions, a treatment ameliorates the medical condition, often only for as long as the treatment is continued or for a short while after treatment is ended. For example, there is no cure for AIDS, but treatments are available to slow down the harm done by HIV and extend the treated person's life. Treatments don't always work. For example, chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer, but it may not work for every patient. In easily cured forms of cancer, such as childhood leukemias, testicular cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma, cure rates may approach 90%. In other forms, treatment may be essentially impossible. A treatment need not be successful in 100% of patients to be considered curative. A given treatment may permanently cure only a small number of patients; so long as those patients are cured, the treatment is considered curative.
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Wikipedia

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