Risk Factors and Prevention of Recurrence
Anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is in remission can have a recurrence. A person’s risk of a breast cancer recurrence depends on a variety of factors:
Age: Being diagnosed with breast cancer before age 35 increase a person’s chance to have a breast cancer recurrence.
Cancer stage: The stage of the original cancer that an individual is diagnosed with impacts the likelihood of a recurrence. Breast cancer stage is determined by a variety of factors, including tumor size and cancer that involves the lymph nodes. People with larger tumors have a higher risk of a recurrence. Cancers found near the lymph nodes have a greater risk of returning. If the original cancer didn’t involve the axillary lymph nodes, there is a 6% chance of a cancer recurrence. If the original cancer did involve the axillary lymph nodes, the chance of a breast cancer recurrence increases to 25% but drops to 6% with radiation therapy after a mastectomy.
Cancer type: Inflammatory breast cancers and triple-negative breast cancers are harder to treat and are more likely to come recur and spread.
Positive or close tumor margins: If there are positive margins or the margin between the tumor and normal tissue are close, there is an increased risk of a breast cancer recurrence.
A margin is the tissue that immediately surrounds the tumour. A surgeon takes this margin of tissue along with the tumour and has it tested by a pathologist. If a person has positive margins after surgery, it means that cancer cells were detected in the tissue immediately surrounding the tumour.
Treatment of original tumor: A local breast cancer recurrence can occur within 5 years of treatment. Individuals who have radiation therapy following a lumpectomy have a reduced risk of a recurrence, similar to the risk of recurrence following a mastectomy. Those who have a lumpectomy and radiation therapy have a 3% to 15% chance of having a recurrence within 10 years. Having chemotherapy for people with an increased risk of recurrence can reduce that risk. If the original cancer is HR-positive, receiving hormone therapy (also known as endocrine therapy) following treatment may reduce the risk of a recurrence. If the original cancer is HER2-positive, targeted therapy can decrease the risk of a recurrence.
Obesity, exercise, and a healthy diet: A higher body mass index puts an individual as at increased risk of recurrence. Maintaining a health weight, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in you diet, limiting alcohol intake, along with regular exercise reduces the risk of a breast cancer recurrence.
Bone-building drugs: For people at an increased risk of a recurrence, taking bone-building drugs contributes to better bone health and reduces the risk of a distant breast cancer recurrence that spreads to the bones (bone metastasis.
Breast Cancer Recurrence from Cleveland Clinic
Recurrent breast cancer from Mayo Clinic
Recurrent Breast Cancer from BreastCancer.org