When Breast Cancer Comes Back?

We use different modalities for treatment of breast cancer. Which includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation etc. If the disease returns after the completion of this first treatment, it is called recurrent breast cancer.

It is possible for breast cancer to recur after your initial treatment. The local recurrence of cancer is when it returns to where the initial cancer was found; however, it may also move to other parts of the body (distant recurrence).


Local recurrence

A local recurrence of cancer occurs when the disease returns to the same site where it first appeared. The signs and symptoms include:

  1. The appearance of a new mass or a change in the firmness of your breasts
  2. Changes in your breast’s skin
  3. A region of redness or irritation on the skin
  4. The discharge of a nipple

After a mastectomy, signs, and symptoms of a local recurrence on the chest wall may include:

  1. One or more pain-free nodules on or under your chest wall’s skin
  2. Thickening in a new location along or near the mastectomy scar

Regional recurrence

A return of breast cancer in the lymph nodes is known as a regional recurrence. Its signs and symptoms include:

  • Under your arm
  • Close to your collarbone
  • In the groove of your collar bone
  • In the neck

Distant recurrence

This signifies that cancer has spread to other body regions, such as the bones, liver, and lungs. A few warning signs are:

  • Constant and intensifying pain in the chest, back, or hip
  • A persistent cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lack of appetite
  • Losing weight without putting in any effort
  • Unbearable headaches
  • Seizures


Recurrent breast cancer occurs when cells from your original tumor detach and hide in your breast or elsewhere in your body. These cells begin to develop new cancer at a later date.

After your initial breast cancer diagnosis, you may have had chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or another treatment to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. However, these therapies don’t always eliminate all cancer cells.

Cancer cells may lie latent in the body for many years before they cause any damage. It’s only then that the cells are activated, causing them to expand and spread throughout the body.

Can you survive secondary breast cancer?

According to one research, survival chances are higher when second breast cancer is identified early.

The survival rate of recurrent breast cancer

If the second breast cancer is minor and had no symptoms when it was discovered, the women’s odds of survival are 27% to 47% greater than if the second breast cancer causes signs like a lump, a skin change, or nipple discharge.

Mammograms detected the second breast cancer significantly more reliably than clinical breast examinations. Clinical tests were the sole method that 14% of women had their second breast cancer discovered.

Is breast cancer recurrence fatal?

According to research, 267 women who had breast-conserving surgery suffered a local recurrence. Unfortunately, 97 (36.3 percent) of the 267 women who had a local breast cancer recurrence died within 10 years after diagnosis (on average 2.6 years after the local recurrence). Ten years after the occurrence, the actuarial mortality risk was 46.1%.


The emotional burden of breast cancer recurrence may be equally significant as the physical effect on the body. According to some people, it’s much worse than the first time you’re diagnosed. Consult a trained therapist or psychiatrist to help you through these challenging times.

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