Early Recurrence Vs Late Recurrence
A recurrence of breast cancer at any time can be devastating. While 6% to 10% of breast tumors are diagnosed when the disease is already metastatic , 90% to 94% of metastatic breast cancers represent a distant recurrence of previous early-stage breast cancer .
Since distant metastases are responsible for around 90% of breast cancer deaths, finding ways to reduce the risk of recurrence is critical in improving the survival rate from the disease. Overall, it’s estimated that around 30% of breast cancers will recur at distant sites.
Mastectomy And Local Recurrence
With mastectomy, the best predictor of local recurrence is whether the lymph nodes in the underarm area contain cancer.
The risk of recurrence is usually higher when there are more axillary lymph nodes with cancer than when there are few or no nodes with cancer .
- When the axillary nodes dont contain cancer, the chance of local recurrence in 5 years is about 6 percent .
- When the axillary nodes contain cancer, the chance of local recurrence in 5 years is about 23 percent following mastectomy without radiation therapy . Radiation therapy can reduce this risk to about 6 percent .
Learn more about breast cancer recurrence.
Lumpectomy Plus Radiation Therapy And Local Recurrence
For women who have lumpectomy plus radiation therapy, the chance of local recurrence in 10 years is about 3-15 percent .
The risk of local recurrence depends on tumor characteristics, including biomarkers .
It also depends on whether or not the tumor margins and the lymph nodes in the underarm area contain cancer cells. The chance of local recurrence is lower when :
- Tumor margins do not contain cancer
- Lymph nodes do not contain cancer
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or HER2-targeted therapy can lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence for people treated with lumpectomy plus radiation therapy .
Don’t Miss: Breast Cancer Growth Rate
Treatment For Triple Negative Breast Cancer
The main treatments for triple negative breast cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The treatment you need depends on:
- where the cancer is
- the size of the cancer and whether it has spread
- how abnormal the cells look under the microscope
- your general health
You might have surgery to remove:
- an area of the breast
- the whole breast
When you have your surgery, the surgeon usually takes out some of the lymph nodes under your arm. They test these nodes to see if they contain cancer cells. The surgeon might check the lymph nodes closest to the breast using a procedure called sentinel lymph node biopsy. Testing the lymph nodes helps to find the stage of the cancer and decide on further treatment.
After breast conserving surgery you usually have radiotherapy to the rest of the breast tissue.
Recurrent Breast Cancer: Facts And Figures
Breast cancer can return at any point after the initial diagnosis and treatment. This is one of the most anxiety-provoking factors for many women after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
There are 3 types of cancer recurrence:-
It is very difficult to predict how many breast cancers of all stages recur, at local, regional and distant sites.
Indeed, breast cancer incidence and mortality rates are documented over the years. However, data on most cancer registries do not document the incidence of recurrence.
Furthermore, a local or regional recurrence does not have the same prognostic impact as distant metastasis. Even more difficult to handle, is that cancer can recur at any given point in time.
You May Like: Baking Soda And Honey For Cancer
History Of Breast Diseases
The initial symptoms of cancer are cancerous lesions in the breast . Regarding the family history of disease, the other risk factors associated with breast cancer are in-situ carcinoma, atypical hyperplasia, proliferative lesions and non-proliferative lesions . Breast cancer risks include a family history of breast cancer and benign lesions .
Understanding Breast Cancer Metastasis
Metastasis is a complex process in which malignantcancer cells from the breast spread into other regions of the body. Once metastasis has occurred, it is much more difficult to effectively treat breast cancer.
If breast cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body, it is termed a Stage IV breast cancer. Sometimes metastasis has occurred at the time the original breast cancer is diagnosed.
However, in other cases, the metastasis of breast cancer is found months or even years after the initial treatment. This would be termed a recurrent breast cancer.
Read Also: Stage 3a Breast Cancer
Treatment Of Local Recurrence After Previous Mastectomy
Most commonly the lesion is removed surgically and followed by radiation to the chest wall if the woman has not previously had radiation Treatment of local recurrence after mastectomy can involve a variety of different approaches, including surgery to remove the recurrence if it is confined to a limited area. Other options for treatment include radiation, chemotherapy, and endocrine therapy, or a combination of these.
Despite aggressive local treatment, many women with an isolated local recurrence following mastectomy eventually develop distant metastases. This is not because the local recurrence spreads, but rather because it is a sign that things have changed and dormant cells in other organs may also be waking up.
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
Read Also: Stage 3 Lymphatic Cancer
Who Is Most Likely To Have Tnbc
Triple negative breast cancer appears more frequently in women age 40 and younger than in older women. Black and Latina women are more likely to develop TNBC than white women. Women who have the gene change BRCA1 are more likely to develop TNBC than other women. When the BRCA1 gene mutates, it stops preventing cancer and appears to make your bodys cells more vulnerable to cancer.
What Makes It Triple
Triple-negative refers to the fact that this type of breast cancer is not fueled by certain substances such as hormones or growth proteins in the body.
Estrogen and progesterone receptors are found in some types of breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer doesnt show hormone receptors on the cancer cells and most likely wont respond to breast cancer treatments using hormone blockers to slow the growth of cancer cells like many other types of breast cancer.
Another feature important for classifying breast cancer is the presence of the HER2 protein. Healthy cells have some HER2, but about 20% of breast cancer diagnoses have an excess of this protein, signaling the cells to grow and divide rapidly. Cancers that test positive for an excess of HER2 protein may be effectively treated using targeted therapies that disrupt the function and growth of HER2. Triple-negative cancer patients do not have a significant amount of HER2 protein fueling the cancer.
Don’t Miss: What Happens After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Overall Breast Cancer Survival Rate For All Stages Of Breast Cancer
The overall 5 year survival rate for women with breast cancer was 89.7%. That is 89.7 out of 100 women were still alive 5 years after diagnosis, regardless of the stage of the cancer. This figure was taken from the SEERS statistics between the years of 2006 and 2012, so could well be even higher now.
What Are Risk Factors For Breast Cancer Recurrence
Anyone with a breast cancer diagnosis can have a recurrence. Your risk of cancer recurrence depends on several factors:
- Age: Women who develop breast cancer before age 35 are more likely to get breast cancer again.
- Cancer stage: Cancer stage at the time of diagnosis correlates with the risk of the cancer being able to recur. Several factors determine cancer stage: tumor size, cancer grade and cancer spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Cancer grade indicates how unusual cancer cells look in comparison to healthy cells.
- Cancer type: Aggressive cancers like inflammatory breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer are harder to treat. Theyre more likely to come back and spread.
Don’t Miss: 3 Cm Tumor In Breast
When Cancer Recurs After 5 Years
When cancer recurs at a distant site it is no longer early-stage breast cancer. The characteristics of cancer may change as well. Tumors that are initially estrogen receptor-positive may now be negative and vice versa . HER2 status can also change.
For this reason, and because there are now a number of alterations that can be targeted , it’s important for people to have a biopsy and genetic testing of their tumor .
Treatment Options For Triple
Typically, triple-negative breast cancer patients will receive a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Research shows that survival rates are higher when chemotherapy is used to shrink the tumor before surgery. Doing chemotherapy before surgery usually means fewer cancer cells in the body at the time time of surgery. This makes it less likely for cancer cells to spread to other areas of the body during the surgery.
Another option to treat triple-negative breast cancer is using drugs that inhibit the poly ADP-ribose polymerase enzyme. Particularly in patients that also test positive for BRCA mutation, PARP inhibitors make it harder for the cancer cells to survive.
Finally, a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy may treat advanced triple-negative breast cancer that tested positive for the PD-L1 protein. Immunotherapy helps the patients immune system work harder to fight the cancer cells, in this case also fighting the PD-L1 protein.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, request an appointment to meet with one of our breast cancer specialists located in the Denver area, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and other areas throughout the Colorado Front Range. We are also happy to quickly schedule a second opinion to help you with making the cancer treatment decision youre confident in.
You May Like: Melanoma Breast Cancer Symptoms
A Little Bit More About Staging And Survival Rates
In general, the lower the grade of the breast cancer on diagnosis the better the prognosis rate.
Obviously if the tumor can be detected and treated before the size of 2cm and before it has affected nearby lymph nodes, then the overall survival rate is very good, as we have seen.
A recent 2012 medical study found tumor size to be a strong predictor for 15 year survival rates in both node-negative and positive groups.
Furthermore, this study shows that tumor size had a greater impact on 15 year survival in the node positive group. The research concluded that screening for more advanced stages of breast cancer could well be more beneficial than for those at an earlier stage.
Targeting Tumor Microenvironment For Tnbc Therapy
The development of TNBC has strong association with the physiological state of TME. TNBC has been characterized with unique TME and is different from other subtypes . TME has strong association with induction of angiogenesis, proliferation, apoptosis inhibition, suppression of immune system and resistance to drugs . The exosomes function as promising nanovesicles that directs TME orchestration by communicating cells within TME milieu . The different components of TME particularly the soluble factors, transformed extracellular matrix, immune suppressive cells, re-programmed fibroblasts and epigenetic modifications altogether helps in TNBC progression and metastasis . Hence, TME is regarded as a good therapeutic target. The different TME targets for therapeutic intervention is schematically presented in Figure 5.
FIGURE 5. Different TME targets for therapeutic intervention.
Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of Stage 3 Breast Cancer
What Is The Prognosis For Triple
A good treatment result depends on several factors. Chemotherapy is what can really make a difference in the outcome. The size of the invasive part of the tumor, and the number of involved lymph nodes can also greatly influence your prognosis, Sun says, but adds that if the cancer has spread , the prognosis is less certain.
There is hope, even with this serious diagnosis, and staying optimistic is essential. It can be stressful and scary to go through chemo, but positive thinking can make a difference. You have to believe that its doing you good, and for most people, it does.
Breast Cancer Treatment at Johns Hopkins
The breast cancer program at Johns Hopkins is made up of a diverse group of nationally-recognized specialists in breast cancer research and treatment.
What Is The Treatment For Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Healthcare providers and researchers are making significant progress on TNBC treatments. Recent clinical trials are testing new combinations of drugs and new approaches to existing treatments. Some existing treatments are:
- Chemotherapy: Providers might combine chemotherapy and surgery, with chemotherapy being used to shrink your tumor before surgery or after surgery to kill cancer cells throughout your body.
- Surgery: This could be a lumpectomy to remove an individual lump, or a mastectomy to remove an entire breast. Providers then perform a sentinel node biopsy or axillary node surgery to look for signs your breast cancer has spread to your lymph nodes.
- Radiation therapy: Post-surgery radiation therapy helps reduce the chances your cancer will return or recur.
- Immunotherapy: This treatment stimulates your immune system to produce more cancer-fighting cells or help healthy cells identify and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be added to chemotherapy to before surgery to shrink the tumor. You might also receive immunotherapy for about a year after your surgery and post-surgery radiation therapy.
Read Also: Breast Cancer Nodes
How Common Is Breast Cancer Recurrence
Most local recurrences of breast cancer occur within five years of a lumpectomy. You can lower your risk by getting radiation therapy afterward. You have a 3% to 15% chance of breast cancer recurrence within 10 years with this combined treatment. Based on genetic testing, your provider may recommend additional treatments to further reduce your risk.
Recurrence rates for people who have mastectomies vary:
- There is a 6% chance of cancer returning within five years if the healthcare providers didnt find cancer in axillary lymph nodes during the original surgery.
- There is a one in four chance of cancer recurrence if axillary lymph nodes are cancerous. This risk drops to 6% if you get radiation therapy after the mastectomy.
Regional Recurrence Within Three Years Carries A Less Favorable Prognosis But Overall Survival Statistics Are Still Good
Generally speaking, if the breast cancer returns regionally lymph nodes) within the first five years following original treatment, the overall likelihood of survival is thought to be somewhat poorer.
Five-year overall survival after an isolated chest wall recurrence is 68% and after intra-breast recurrence it is 81%.
In one 2010 medical research study, the ten year overall survival rate was estimated at 84% for women without recurrence. However, this figure goes down to 49% for women with a locoregional recurrence and 72% for women with a second primary tumour.
A large 2015 study examined the impact of the time of the disease free interval on survival rates. For women with a locoregional recurrence that happened in the first 18 months, the ten year overall survival rate is around 30%. The overall 10 year survival rate for those whose recurrence happened within 3 years goes up to 50%. Furthermore, for those who suffered a recurrence after 3 years the ten year overall survival rate increases to 70%.
This recent study clearly demonstrates that the longer the time span since the primary prognosis and treatment to the recurrence, the better the long-term prognosis.
The rate of distance breast cancer metastasis and overall survival is most favorable for women in which the recurrence occurred locally and after five years.
However, women with a same-breast recurrence within five years have a distant metastasis rate of about 61%, which are slightly poorer odds.
Recommended Reading: Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer Prognosis
What This Means For You
If youve been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, your doctor may recommend treatments after surgery to reduce your risk of recurrence.
If you were diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer, its likely that your doctor will recommend you take some type of hormonal therapy medicine either tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor depending on your menopausal status for five to 10 years after surgery.
Chemotherapy after surgery is usually completed in three to six months. If youre also receiving a targeted therapy, such as Herceptin , with chemotherapy, you may continue to receive the targeted therapy for up to a year after completing chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy after surgery can be completed in one to seven weeks.
So, hormonal therapy after surgery takes the longest to complete. Hormonal therapy medicines also can cause troubling side effects, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and joint pain. Less common but more severe side effects include heart problems and blood clots.
Research has shown that about 25% of women who are prescribed hormonal therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence after surgery either dont start taking the medicine or stop taking it early, in many cases because of side effects.
Learn more about Staying on Track With Treatment. You can read about why its so important to stick to your treatment plan, as well as ways to manage side effects after radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy.