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Breast Cancer Recurrence Symptoms After Mastectomy

Disseminated Tumour Cells As Culprits For Metastatic Recurrence

Where Will a Breast Cancer Recurrence Happen After a Mastectomy?

Metastatic relapse is attributed to the outgrowth of cancer cells that have escaped from the primary tumour and take up residence in secondary sites. Cancer cells that physically detach from a primary source and seed distant sites are known as disseminated tumour cells . The process whereby DTCs transform a localised cancer into a systemic disease is called the metastatic cascade . In the next few sections, the seven key steps comprising this complex biological process are discussed with the goal to shed light on the when and how of DTC dissemination. Importantly, while depicting the metastatic cascade as an orderly series of sequential eventsstarting from the primary tumour and ending in a distant metastatic siteit should be noted that DTC spread can take place through multiple routes and different directions. Accordingly, clinical evidence of self-seedingwhereby a metastatic cell re-infiltrates its primary tumourand of metastasis-to-metastasis spread, has been documented, with one such study in HR+ breast cancer patients reporting a common origin between lymph node and distant metastases in up to 25% of cases.

Fig. 2: Tumour cell dissemination: the route to metastatic success or failure.

What Is Breast Cancer Recurrence

Itâs when your cancer comes back after treatment. It can happen a year after you finish treatment for breast cancer, or 5, 10, even 20 years later. You find another lump, or a shadow appears on your mammogram. Is the cancer back?

Every person who’s had breast cancer knows that recurrence is possible. Sometimes — such as at follow-up visits with the oncologist — it might particularly be on your mind. It helps to know exactly what a recurrence might involve. And if your thoughts about recurrence start to become a worry, it’s a good idea to talk it over with your doctor, therapist, or support group.

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If All The Cancer Was Removed With Surgery Why Do I Need Any Additional Treatment

It has long been recognized that breast cancer is not always cured by locoregional treatment alone.

The goal of treating early breast cancer is to remove the cancer and keep it from coming back . Most people diagnosed with breast cancer will never have a breast cancer recurrence. However, everyone who has had breast cancer is at potential risk of recurrence, and that is why in most cases, there is a recommendation for treatment in addition to surgery, which is known as adjuvant therapy. The risk of recurrence can never be entirely eliminated, but the aim of adjuvant therapy is to reduce recurrence risk to the absolute minimum.

Treatments For Distant Recurrences

Breast Cancer Recurrence Rate After Mastectomy

Distant breast cancer recurrence is when breast cancer has spread to another organ or part of your body, such as your lungs, bones, or brain. Though rare, distance recurrence can also occur in the opposite breast.

Also called metastatic breast cancer, this recurrence level is no longer curable. It needs to be managed as a chronic disease. Still, even if a cure isnt possible for your recurrent cancer, treatment may control your cancer for a long time.

Treatment options may include:

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Treating A Metastatic Recurrence

Many treatments exist for metastatic breast cancer. Your options will depend on where your cancer has spread. If one treatment doesn’t work or stops working, you may be able to try other treatments.

In general, the goal of treatment for metastatic breast cancer isn’t to cure the disease. Treatment may allow you to live longer and can help relieve symptoms the cancer is causing. Your doctor works to achieve a balance between controlling your symptoms while minimizing toxic effects from treatment. The aim is to help you live as well as possible for as long as possible.

Treatments may include:

Surveillance And Monitoring For Signs And Symptoms Of Recurrence

One goal of follow-up care is to check for a recurrence, which means that the cancer has come back. Treatment for early-stage or locally advanced breast cancer is given to get rid of as many cancer cells in the body as possible. However, cancer recurs because small areas of cancer cells that don’t respond to treatment may remain undetected in the body. Over time, these cells may increase in number until they show up on test results or cause signs or symptoms.

Many survivors feel worried or anxious that the cancer will come back after treatment. While it often does not, its important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Most breast cancer recurrences are found by patients between doctor visits. The American Society of Clinical Oncology does not recommend routine screening for cancer at distant sites.

During follow-up care, a doctor familiar with your medical history can give you personalized information about your risk of recurrence. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return and will help you make decisions about your treatment. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.

Your doctor will ask specific questions about your health at your follow-up care appointments. Regular follow-up care recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer first diagnosed and the types of treatment given.

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If Cancer Comes Back In The Same Breast

If the breast cancer comes back in the same breast it’s called local recurrence. The cancer might be picked up at one of your follow up scans or appointments. Or you might notice your breast or scar looks or feels different.

Symptoms of local recurrence can include:

  • a small pink or red lump called a nodule on the breast or scar
  • change in shape or size of the breast
  • a swelling in your arm or hand on the side of your breast surgery
  • changes in the shape or position of the nipple
  • redness or a rash on the skin on or around the breast area
  • a lump or thickening in the breast

Let your doctor know as soon as you can if you notice any changes. You usually have tests to check if the cancer has come back.

What Are The Signs Of A Breast Mastectomy

MRI Findings of Breast Cancer Recurrence After Mastectomy

A new lump in your breast or irregular area of firmness. Changes to the skin of your breast. Skin inflammation or area of redness. Nipple discharge. Signs and symptoms of local recurrence on the chest wall after a mastectomy may include: One or more painless nodules on or under the skin of your chest wall.

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What Are The Breast Cancer Recurrence Statistics

Most of the time, local recurrences of breast cancer happen within the first five years after being diagnosed. After a mastectomy, when the lymph nodes have not been affected by cancer, the chance of local recurrence within the five-year period is only about six percent. If there was cancer in the lymph nodes at the time of the mastectomy, the risk increases to approximately 23% without radiation therapy after the surgery. Radiation can help decrease the risk to about 17%. It has also been shown that women that have tumors of 5cm have a 25% higher risk of having a recurrence after mastectomy.

For over 20 years, our team at Causenta has been using the latest, cutting-edge, non-toxic therapies to work with patients that have been diagnosed with breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence after mastectomy. Our oncologists work closely with naturopaths and physical therapists to provide an individualized cancer treatment plan for each patient. Patients from all over the world are finding relief as they work with our experienced team at Causenta. Is Causenta is right for you? Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

What Are The Signs Of Distant Breast Cancer Recurrence

If your breast cancer has spread to other parts to the body, known as distant recurrence, there are a number of possible symptoms, including:

  • Unexpected weight loss or change in appetite
  • Severe or ongoing headaches

However, symptoms will vary depending on where the secondary cancer presents. Sometimes recurrence is identified on a scan or blood test that was done for a reason other than breast cancer.

Studies have shown that doctors are sometimes reluctant to mention the symptoms of metastatic disease. In medical school it was suggested that we shouldnt tell people who had been treated for cancer what to look for if they were worried about recurrences because theyd start imagining that they had every symptom we told them about, but that doesnt reassure people at all it just means theyll be afraid of everything instead of a few specific things. When youve had cancer, youre acutely aware of your body, and any symptom thats newor that you never noticed beforecan take on terrifying significance as you worry that your cancer may be back. Inevitably this will mean a lot of fear over symptoms that turn out to be harmless.

As I explain to my patients, there are good reasons these days to remain optimistic, even after cancer comes back. Newer, better treatments are becoming available all the time. And for women who were treated a long time ago, the options for treatment may have changed and improved significantly since the first time they were treated

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Is There A Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer If You Have Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Experts also believe that those who were initially diagnosed before the age of 35, those who had inflammatory breast cancer or those whose breast cancer did not respond to hormone therapy may also be at a higher risk for recurrence. However, having one or more of these risk factors isnt a reason to panic. Just like there was no way

What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Surgery for Locally Recurrent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can return to the original site or it can return and spread to other areas of the body, which is called distant recurrence or metastasis. Local recurrence is generally discovered during routine mammograms or when the patient notices a physical change. Most often, women experience symptoms such as weight loss, bone pain, or shortness of breath. There can often be nodules on or under the skin of the chest wall, or a new area of thickening near the scar left from the mastectomy. If the cancer recurrence in the regional area, such as the lymph nodes, you may notice swelling or a lump under your arm, in your neck, or near the collarbone.

Depending on what the symptoms are, your doctor may want to do a tissue biopsy, blood tests such as a tumor marker, or other imaging tests like a CT scan or bone scan. If the cancer is determined to be metastatic breast cancer, this means that it has spread to other areas such as the lungs, bones, or brain. Its still called breast cancer, even though it has spread.

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Treating A Regional Recurrence

Treatments for a regional breast cancer recurrence include:

  • Surgery. If it’s possible, surgery to remove the cancer is the recommended treatment for a regional recurrence. Your surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes under your arm if they’re still present.
  • Radiation therapy. Sometimes radiation therapy may be used after surgery. If surgery isn’t possible, radiation therapy may be used as the main treatment for a regional breast cancer recurrence.
  • Drug treatments. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy also may be recommended as the main treatment or may follow surgery or radiation.

How Can You Cope With Negative Feelings

New fears and disappointment about this setback to your health, anger about the unfairness of your situation or being envious of healthy people are all perfectly natural reactions and are nothing to feel bad about. In the long run, however, it might be better for your general wellbeing to learn how to deal with negative feelings and thoughts so that you still have space for other things as well.

Many women say that it comes as a relief to accept feelings of anxiety, worries and despair and to talk about them with people close to them. As well as talking to your partner, family and friends, professional counseling might also help. Religious organizations and hospitals also offer pastoral or spiritual support. Sharing your experiences with other women in a self-help group is another option.

It can sometimes help to put anxieties and worries aside for a while. Concentrating on pleasant things or activities can help reduce fears and tension to a manageable level.

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Chances Of Recurrence After Mastectomy With Reconstruction

The majority of cases can occur within 6 months. However, some cases may take longer than a year. When they do, they are called late recurrences. Approximately 20% will recur within 6 months and approximately 30% within a year. According to the experts at Medicover Hospital Vizag, there are several options to tackle. The most common in our clinic are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

When chemotherapy is used to treat breast cancer that has spread, it helps shrink the tumor and improves your chances of a cure. But it can also lead to serious side effects such as fatigue, hair loss, and digestive problems. Therefore, if you have non-metastatic breast cancer after mastectomy with reconstruction, we recommend that you choose radiation therapy instead of chemo. Radiation therapy offers a better chance of being cured with fewer side effects.

The patient may experience the recurrence of the cancer cells in the breast lymph node. It is called a local recurrence. Or, cancer may spread from the affected breast to other parts of the body.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Recurrence

Checking For Breast Cancer Recurrence After Mastectomy With No Reconstruction

Inflammatory breast cancer recurrence can happen at any time, from months to years after the initial diagnosis and treatment. Recurrence can be local , regional or distant . Common sites for recurrence include the lymph nodes, bones, liver and lungs. With regard to the likelihood of recurrence, its important to remember that each patients circumstances are different, so a woman is advised to consult with her physician for specific information. That said, some indicators that a physician might consider when predicting the likelihood of inflammatory breast cancer recurrence include:

Breast cancer recurrence is generally checked for periodically after treatment. A physician will work with a patient to determine the best schedule for her unique situation. For most types of breast cancer, follow up generally consists of a physical examination every three to six months for the first three years after diagnosis, and then yearly thereafter, along with an annual mammogram. In comparison to other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer recurrences tend to happen earlier . Additionally, because inflammatory breast cancer is usually aggressive and progresses rapidly, its very important for a woman to continue to perform monthly self-exams and remain vigilant for symptoms of recurrence.

To learn more about inflammatory breast cancer recurrence, please contact us at or schedule an appointment online. Well be pleased to see you with or without a referral.

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Risk Factors For Distant Recurrence

There are several risk factors that raise the risk of recurrence overall . These include:

  • Tumour size: Larger tumours are more likely to recur than smaller ones both early and late.
  • Positive lymph nodes: Tumours that have spread to lymph nodes are more likely to recur at any time than those that have not.
  • Age at diagnosis: Breast cancer recurrence is more common in younger women.
  • Treatments received and response to treatments: Both chemotherapy and hormonal therapy reduce the risk of recurrence
  • Tumour Characteristics: More aggressive cancers are more likely to recur than less aggressive tumours , especially in the first five years. We also take into account the receptor status and an estimate of proliferation .

There are also factors that do not appear to affect the risk of recurrence. Recurrence rates are the same for women who have a mastectomy or lumpectomy with radiation and are also the same for women who have a single vs. double mastectomy.

Symptoms Of Cancer In The Liver

Breast cancer in the liver can cause these general symptoms:

  • extreme tiredness

When breast cancer spreads to the liver, after some time it can have specific symptoms such as

  • swelling of your abdomen
  • jaundice, a condition that causes the skin or the white part of the eyes to turn yellow
  • discomfort or pain in the abdomen, especially along the right side

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Protect Against Potential Breast Cancer Recurrences

If youve had breast cancer before, there is a small chance you can get it again. However, you can put some preventative measures in place.

Practice holistic health care by eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and caring for your emotional well-being, including practices to help manage your fear and pervasive worry about relapse.

You can assess your risk of cancer or cancer recurrence by taking ezras know-your-risk quiz, which evaluates questions about your lifestyle and medical history.

Your score will highlight areas where you can improve your own health care and lifestyle.

Most importantly, see your oncologist for regular checkups, self-examine your breasts carefully and consistently, schedule an annual MRI screening, and have a yearly mammogram.

To learn more about mammograms, please check out:

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