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Breast Cancer Recurrence

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Breast cancer recurrence is something which is quite rare. Majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will never undergo recurrence of this disease. No women would want to face this fatal condition again. However, if breast cancer does takes place, it can be recovered and treated effectively for most of the time.

What are risks allied with breast cancer recurrence?

Location and type of cancer are considered as the key factors for recurrence. The risk of recurrence is higher among the patients during the initial two years after following the breast cancer treatment. So, most of the doctors monitors their patients for around two years after following their treatment, in order to reduce the possibility of recurrence. Some patients oblige extra care of breast cancer, depending on the prognostic factors as well as the stage of their disease.

After undergoing the treatment of breast cancer, the risk of recurrence is still present at some extent, but it goes down as more time passes. Where and when the breast cancer recurrence does occur? There is no particular time for breast cancer recurrence, but it mostly takes place during the initial three to five years after the treatment. Recurrence of breast cancer can take place in two types:

  1. Local breast cancer recurrence: This occurs near the mastectomy scar or in the treated area.
  2. Distant breast recurrence: This occurs in other body organs. The most commons locations for the recurrence of such type are the bones, lungs, the lymph nodes or the liver.

What are the symptoms and signs of breast cancer recurrence?

Breast Cancer Recurrence It is recommended that women who have undergone and treated their breast cancer should follow a self breast examination strategy, in order to check both the treated sites and the breast on regular basis. In case of any changes or indications, consult the doctor immediately. There are certain breast changes that you can experience during self examination.

  • A lump or thickness can be seen in the nearby area of breast or in the arm pit that persists during the menstrual periods.
  • An indistinct formation can be seen nearby the breast, which is different from either breast
  • A lump or mass is developed which is as small as a pea.
  • A marble like area can be seen to develop under the skin
  • Skin around the breast or nipples get red
  • The size, contour and shape of the breast show changes.
  • The skin of the nipple or breast shows certain changes (scaly, dimpled, inflamed or puckered) sometimes, it looks warm, red and swollen.
  • Nipple discharges bloody or clear fluid.

Along with the regular self examination, scheduling your monthly appointment with the health care provider can be helpful. This is because; in rare cases, it may happen that you may undergo breast caner recurrence and your body will not show any of the signs of its presence. Regular checkup with the health care provider includes breast exam, imaging tests, order lab and some more clinical diagnosis. Initially, these tests and follow-ups should be performed every three to four months. Performing screening mammograms once a year is recommended. Life expectancy of breast cancer can decrease considerably in case of breast cancer recurrence. Thus, one should take treatments only as recommended and undergo regular medical examination even in post-treatment period.

What is the available treatment for avoid breast cancer recurrence?

Breast cancer recurrence treatment is based on the type of recurrence you develop. Since there are two types of recurrences, both of them are treated as per their occurrence.

Local Breast Cancer Recurrence:

In this case, the cancer cells starts to recur at the same location or nearby to the initially treated breast. If your previous breast cancer was treated by radiation and lumpectomy, then it cannot be used again for treating the tissues. In this case, mastectomy is the recommend surgical treatment.

In case, if radiation was not used along with lumpectomy during your first treatment, in further treatment lumpectomy is recommended followed by radiation.

If the breast volume is not sufficient to undergo the lumpectomy, mastectomy can be opted. Whether a patient should be treated with hormonal therapy or chemotherapy is, depend on the medical oncologist's evaluation and the prognostic factors of the tumor.

Distant Breast Cancer Recurrence:

In this type, of recurrence, the cancer cells are spread within other organs of the body. This type of spread breast cancer can also be termed as metastatic breast cancer as it is similar to the advanced stage of breast cancer. This is considered as fatal form, since it cannot be cured and is treated as a chronic disease.

There are various treatment options that help to treat breast cancer recurrence and stop its progression. These treatments are successfully prolonging a patient's life and thus improving their livelihood. These treatments may involve:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Biologic targeted therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Clinical trials
All these treatments are helpful in breast cancer recurrence. In case if you find any of the mentioned symptoms in you, consult a doctor to detect breast cancer recurrence.

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