How, When and Why Does Breast Cancer Come Back?

Question: How, when and why does breast cancer come back?

Answer: Breast cancer comes back most likely because even though by all conventional criteria that we have -- CAT scans, bone scans, and other tests – the disease seems to be confined to the breast. (But) most likely, patients have tumor cells that are present in other parts of the body that we can't detect by these routine testing procedures.

Overall, if it does come back, it usually comes back within the first five years after the initial diagnosis. It tends to occur in organs such as the liver, the lungs, the bone and other organs.

Next: Does it mean anything if my breast cancer comes back soon after I have completed treatments?

Previous: How will my doctor know if the treatment for my breast cancer worked and what tests are done after my treatments have been completed to check if my breast cancer has recurred?

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