Can Breast Cancer Recurrence Happen After Mastectomy?
Even though the whole breast is removed during a mastectomy, breast cancer can return to the chest region. This is known as local recurrence. It is also important to note that the more lymph nodes that were affected with cancer at the time of mastectomy, the higher the risk for having the cancer return. If the cancer returns, it is common to use radiation therapy to treat the cancer. Our doctors can help you determine the best options.
What are the Signs of Breast Cancer Recurrence?
Breast cancer can return to the original site (local recurrence) 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. It’s still called breast cancer, even though it has spread.
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%. (1) It has also been shown that women that have tumors of 5cm have a 25% higher risk of having a recurrence after mastectomy. (2)
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.
Marie’s breast cancer recurrence led her to find a second family away from home at Causenta. Watch to see how her experience at Causenta differs from her first fight with breast cancer.