What Are The Complications Of Breast Cancer Recurrence
Breast cancer that comes back can be harder to treat. The same therapy isnt always effective again. Tumors can develop a tolerance to certain treatments like chemotherapy. Your healthcare provider will try other therapies. You may be able to try drugs under development in clinical trials.
If breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, your healthcare providers still treat it like breast cancer. For instance, breast cancer cells that move to the lungs cause breast cancer in the lungs not lung cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is more difficult to treat than cancer in only one part of the body.
Do You Need Chemo For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Treatments for invasive ductal carcinoma include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy. You and your doctor will decide what treatment or combination of treatments is right for you depending on the characteristics of the cancer and your personal preferences.
What Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast. Stage 3 breast cancer is a more advanced form of invasive breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but they are present in several axillary lymph nodes. The tumor may also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or the skin of the breast.
Stage 3 breast cancer is divided into three categories:
Stage 3A: One of the following is true:
- No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is present in axillary lymph nodes that are attached to either other or other structures, or cancer may be found in the lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
- The tumor is 2 cm or smaller. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
- The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm in size. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Also Check: Stage 3 Of Breast Cancer
How To Cure Breast Cancer
This article was co-authored by Joshua Ellenhorn, MD. Joshua Ellenhorn, MD, is a board certified surgeon with advanced training in the fields of surgical oncology, minimally invasive surgery, and robotic surgery. He runs a private practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and is a nationally recognized leader in surgery, cancer research, and surgical education. Dr. Ellenhorn has trained more than 60 surgical oncologists and has spent over 18 years in practice at the City of Hope National Medical Center, where he was a professor and the chief of the Division of General and Oncologic Surgery. Dr. Ellenhorn performs the following surgical procedures: gallbladder surgery, hernia repair, colorectal cancer, skin cancer and melanoma, gastric cancer, and pancreatic cancer. He earned an MD from the Boston University School of Medicine, completed fellowships at the University of Chicago and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and finished his residency in surgery at the University of Cincinnati.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 22,889 times.
Understanding Breast Cancer Survival Rates
Prognosis varies by stage of breast cancer.
Non-invasive and early stage invasive breast cancers have a better prognosis than later stage cancers .
Breast cancer thats only in the breast and has not spread to the lymph nodes has a better prognosis than breast cancer thats spread to the lymph nodes.
The poorest prognosis is for metastatic breast cancer , when the cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body.
Learn more about breast cancer treatment.
Systemic Treatments For Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Systemic treatments, often termed add-on or adjuvant treatments, treat breast cancer throughout your body and not just at the site of the tumor.
These treatments help destroy cancer cells that have spread beyond your breast but are still too small to be spotted. They include the therapies outlined below.
Doctors may recommend chemotherapy, also called chemo, after surgery to help destroy any undetected cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also lower your risk of the cancer coming back at a later stage.
Chemotherapy may be recommended for a smaller tumor if:
- Any cancer cells were found in the lymph nodes.
- You score high on a gene test such as Oncotype DX, which shows whether chemotherapy could help treat your breast cancer and if its likely to come back after surgery.
- The cancer cells are progesterone receptor- and estrogen receptor-negative.
- The breast cancer cells are positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 various therapies can target these receptors.
Hormone therapy can be used to help slow down the growth of cancer cells in people with estrogen receptor-positive or progesterone receptor-positive cancer cells. Hormone therapy works by blocking hormone receptors on the cancer cells or by lowering the amount of estrogen produced in your body.
Its important to ask your doctor about the potential side effects of hormone therapy before you begin this treatment, so can you know what to expect.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Recurrence
You may experience different signs of breast cancer recurrence depending on where the cancer forms.
Local breast cancer recurrence may cause:
- Breast lump or bumps on or under the chest.
- Nipple changes, such as flattening or nipple discharge.
- Swollen skin or skin that pulls near the lumpectomy site.
- Thickening on or near the surgical scar.
- Unusually firm breast tissue.
- Biopsy of the site of suspected recurrence.
Recommended Reading: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Symptoms
Radiation Therapy And Mastectomy
Most women who have a mastectomy dont need radiation therapy if theres no cancer in the lymph nodes.
In some cases, radiation therapy is used after mastectomy to treat the chest wall, the axillary lymph nodes and/or the lymph nodes around the collarbone.
For a summary of research studies on mastectomy versus lumpectomy plus radiation therapy and overall survival in early breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
For a summary of research studies on radiation therapy following mastectomy for invasive breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
Treatment For Early Stage Breast Cancer
If you are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, the aim of treatment is to remove the breast cancer and any other cancer cells that remain in the breast, armpit or other parts of the body but cannot be detected.
Treatment for early stage breast cancer can vary from person to person. The stage of your breast cancer is an important factor when making decisions about treatment. However, the most suitable treatment for you also depends on other factors, such as where the cancer is in the breast, the cancers grade, and whether the cancer is hormone receptor-positive, HER2 positive or triple-negative. Your doctor will also consider your age, general health and preferences.
Treatment for early breast cancer may involve:
Usually more than one treatment is used. Treatment may be given in different orders and combinations. Learn more about different treatment options here.
Read Also: Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3
Local Treatment: Surgery And Radiation
If you receive a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer, your doctor may recommend local treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy to treat your breast cancer at the site.
Both lumpectomy and mastectomy are options for stage 1 breast cancer. Your doctor will help determine what is right for you based on the tumor size, grade, and level of spread.
- Lumpectomy. Also known as breast-conserving surgery, a lumpectomy is the least invasive surgery for breast cancer. With this procedure, a surgeon will remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue, but will leave as much of your breast as possible so that it looks a lot like the original breast.
- Mastectomy. A mastectomy involves the removal of the entire breast. There are different types of mastectomies. Some types of mastectomies involve the removal of the lymph nodes. Other types can preserve the breast skin or the nipple and areola, especially with early stage breast cancer.
Doctors typically recommend radiation therapy after a lumpectomy for stage 1 breast cancer treatment. Radiation therapy helps destroy any cancer cells that may have been left behind after the surgery. This helps lower the chance of the breast cancer coming back.
Radiation is less often needed after a mastectomy with stage 1 breast cancer.
Beyond local treatments, your doctor might recommend systemic treatments for stage 1 breast cancer.
What Is A 5
A relative survival rate compares women with the same type and stage of breast cancer to women in the overall population.For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of breast cancer is 90%, it means that women who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as women who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
Recommended Reading: 3 Cm Tumor In Breast
What Stage Is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Specifically, the invasive ductal carcinoma stages are: Stage 1 â A breast tumor is smaller than 2 centimeters in diameter and the cancer has not spread beyond the breast. Stage 2 â A breast tumor measures 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter or cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes in the underarm area.
Recurrence Can Mean Different Things
For some women, a recurrence can be metastatic â the cancer has come back not in the breast , but elsewhere in the body as well. Thatâs a much more serious situation . Or, it may have come back much as the first time you were diagnosed, as a ânewâ cancer, and is treated as such.
Be aware that many people talk about recurrence and metastasis in the same breath. But they are not the same thing. If you have had a local recurrence, when the cancer remains confined to your breast, the good news is that your prognosis is not necessarily any worse than it was the first time.
âWhether itâs a recurrence of the original cancer or a new primary cancer in the other breast, in both cases we assume weâre dealing with a curable situation, and we attempt to think about those patients as we would anyone with a new presentation,â says Clifford Hudis, MD, chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
If, for example, you finished treatment for breast cancer seven or eight years ago, any recurrence or new cancer would be treated largely as an entirely new problem.
âThat woman will not only undergo surgery, but may well receive additional therapy that doesnât ignore the fact that she had a previous cancer, but recognizes that seven years out, her prognosis from the first cancer is excellent,â says Eric Winer, MD, director of the Breast Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Also Check: Anne Hathaway Breast Implants
What Is Stage 0 Dcis
Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0 breast cancer, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if its left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
How Treatment Can Impact Survival Of Early Stage Breast Cancer
In most cases, the earlier breast cancer is first diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of survival. Cancer cells often become more difficult to treat and may develop drug resistance once they spread. The aim of treatment for Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer is to remove the breast cancer, and any other cancer cells that remain in the breast, armpit or other parts of the body but cannot be detected. Having treatment at this stage can also reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
You May Like: Risk Factors For Metastatic Breast Cancer
What Are My Options For Coping And Support
You may find that youre able to cope better if you take an active role in your own care. Partner with your doctor and stay informed. Ask about the goals of each treatment, as well as potential side effects and how to handle them. Ask about any potential clinical trials as research is making strides. Be clear about your own wishes.
You dont have to deal with lung cancer alone. Your family and friends probably want to be supportive but dont always know how. Thats why they might say something like let me know if you need anything. Take them up on the offer with a specific request. This could be anything from accompanying you to an appointment to cooking a meal.
And, of course, dont hesitate to reach out for additional support from social workers, therapists, clergy, or support groups. Your oncologist or treatment center can refer you to resources in your area.
For more information about lung cancer support and resources, visit:
Editors note: Were bringing back this piece from October 2014 for Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and to honor Jody Schoger, featured in the story. Schoger died of metastatic breast cancer in May. Want to learn more about MBC? Look for our tweets at the Northwest Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference this Saturday at Fred Hutch.
A no-nonsense Texan of 60 years, Jody Schoger* has a very no-nonsense way of educating people about her metastatic breast cancer.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If Breast Cancer Has Metastasized
Available Cancer Treatment Options
The current survival rate for cancer patients is about five years after that period, your cancer will either worsen. Five years is the typical survival rate for most cancer types, that doesnt mean that it cant come back after that period its just that the odds are very low.
To make a decisive decision, speak with your medical care professional to discuss what treatment options are available for your specific cancer.
People Also Ask
Q: What type of cancer is curable?A: several forms of cancer are curable, including lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer. Curing depends heavily on early diagnosis, the earlier you catch cancer, the higher your survival odds are.
Q: How long can you live with cancer? A: the most common cancer survival rate period is five years once you reach this point, your cancer has pretty much reached its peak. If you have not experienced any fatal symptoms yet, you likely wont again. However, that doesnt mean that the odds of cancer growing back is completely gone.
Q: Can stage 1 cancer be cured?A: yes, stage 1 cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer however, often, it doesnt require immediate treatment.
Also Check: Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer Stage 3
Box 1 How Rapid Autopsy Studies Can Inform On Metastatic Dissemination And Relapse
Rapid autopsy: rapid post-mortem collection, examination and biobanking of tissuesfresh, snap-frozen and fixedfrom deceased patients shortly after death.
Rapid autopsy cancer programme: coordinated effort among oncologists, pathologists and scientists aimed at collecting specimens from cancer patients within a post-mortem interval of 68h before key biological information within the tissues of interest is lost.
Multiregional biopsies: to conduct extensive, spatial sampling of tissuesprimary and metastatic, cancerous and normalfor in-depth, high-resolution multi-omics analysis.
Physiological model: to analyse DTCs in their natural metastatic niche.
to generate novel, ex vivo living patient-derived modelsautopsy-derived xenografts and organoids of metastatic tumours from sites that would otherwise be difficult to sample for functional evaluation .
Cancer evolution: to study the phylogenetic relationship of each sampled site to each other and infer the complete clonal evolution of a neoplasm.
Dormancy: to examine why some DTCs lodged in certain organs of the human body become dormant for years to decades.
Drug resistance: to study why DTC spread across different sites responds differently to therapy, with some developing resistance and others remaining sensitive to treatment.
Recurrence: to understand why only some DTCs residing in certain sites of the human body give rise to active metastases, ultimately responsible for patients relapse.
How Is Breast Cancer Recurrence Managed Or Treated
Your treatment depends on the type of cancer recurrence, as well as past treatments. If cancer develops in a reconstructed breast, your surgeon may want to remove the breast implant or skin flap.
Treatments for local and regional breast cancer recurrence may include:
- Mastectomy: Your surgeon removes the affected breast and sometimes lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy circulates in blood, killing cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy:Tamoxifen and other hormone therapies treat cancers that thrive on estrogen .
- Immunotherapy:Immunotherapy engages your bodys immune system to fight cancer.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy X-ray beams damage and destroy cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: Treatments target specific cancer cell genes or proteins.
Read Also: What Are Common Treatments For Breast Cancer
Recommended Reading: Stage 3 Invasive Breast Cancer