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It’s not as rare — or random — as people might think

Getty Images/Boris SV

At a recent medical conference, I gave a talk on a phenomenon in medicine that remains stubbornly shrouded in mystery: . Spontaneous remission is supposedly vanishingly rare, and is brushed off as a kind of fairy tale unworthy of real scientific investigation — and yet this talk was heavily attended by curious medical professionals.

Spontaneous remission is exactly what it sounds like: the sudden and unexpected remission of a disease that’s expected to progress — usually, one that’s expected to progress fatally. Instead, the disease reverses course, regresses, even vanishes completely. Cancer fades mysteriously from the body. Tumors melt…

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