Does It Mean Anything If My Breast Cancer Returns Soon After I Complete Treatment?

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

Answer: Well, the prognosis for someone who has recurrent breast cancer is certainly very dependent upon the time interval between their initial presentation with the disease -- with operable disease -- and the time that they have a relapse of their disease.

It also depends upon where it comes back. For example, a recurrence within the breast and the breast alone can be treatable and in most cases curable with surgery. An early recurrence in the breast, say within the first two years of initial treatment, usually is a harbinger for disease in other parts of the body as well that may not be detected.

If the recurrence occurs more than between two and five years after presentation in the breast, then many women can be cured with surgery alone. If the disease comes back outside the breast in other parts of the body, in the vast majority of cases, it can't be cured, but it certainly can be treated. And there are a variety of treatment options.

Joseph Sparano, MDPlay

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