Recurrence of breast cancer


Repeated cancer pathology of the breast or lymph nodes, manifested after the operative treatment of the primary neoplasm, isrecurrence of breast cancer. The doctor makes an accurate diagnosis after carrying out various studies. As a treatment, rather radical methods are used - surgery, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.

What is the risk of a relapse of breast cancer?

If the time does not begin treatment, the disease is rapidly progressing. In 9% of patients, relapse during the first treatment is already accompanied by metastases. Another 9% of patients can not undergo surgery due to germination of metastases, somatic diseases and general exhaustion of the body against the background of renewal of oncology.

Why does the disease come back?

In the treatment of a breast tumor, it is not always possible to identify and remove all cancer cells - this is the main cause of relapse. The likelihood of a resumption of the disease also depends directly on:

  • aggressiveness of tumor growth;
  • the level of differentiation of malignant cells;
  • hormonal background;
  • presence of a metastatic process in the lymphatic nodes nearest to the chest.

To reduce the risk of recurrence, a combined treatment is usually prescribed: surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy) and subsequent therapy.

The first signs of a relapse of breast cancer

Women who have been treated for oncology in the past and who are monitoring their own health are able to notice initial symptomsrelapse of breast cancer.

The most obvious early signs of the return of ailment include the following:

  1. The usual outlines and shape of the breasts have changed.
  2. The skin of the gland or around it is reddened or otherwise changed color.
  3. A colorless, greenish or bloody liquid is emitted from the nipple. The amount of secretions is constantly increasing, regardless of the menstrual cycle.
  4. The chest itches, there is a burning sensation.
  5. The nipple is ulcerated, and cracks form on it.
  6. When palpation feels painless compaction.
  7. The skin may peel off.
  8. Above the tumor, the skin sinks, forming a wrinkled surface and forming the "orange peel" effect.
  9. With metastases, lymph nodes increase.
  10. Headaches and neurological pathologies can begin.
  11. When metastatic lesions of other organs: their soreness or transformation.
  12. The person quickly tires, the appetite disappears, the general weakness is felt.
  13. The patient quickly grows thin, becomes pale.

Necessary analyzes and examinations

If the patient has already undergone removal of the breast tumor, but there are new complaints, the oncologist conducts a thorough examination, according to which a preliminary diagnosis is possible - cancer recurrence breasts.

To confirm or refute the presence of relapse, a number of studies are assigned. Mammography reveals the presence of microcalcinates associated with oncology in the gland, shows disturbances in the vascular pattern and other direct symptoms.

In addition, for clarification, an x-ray with an oblique projection, or ultrasound, helps to identify the fluid that is characteristic of a cyst. However, ultrasound is not considered a highly informative method, it will help to clarify the diagnosis in about 75% of calls. The final point in the diagnosis will be such an investigation as a biopsy performed under the X-ray or ultrasound control, as well as studies on oncomarkers and blood tests for detection of anemia.

If metastases were identified, then individual analyzes are assigned. Additionally, MRI and CT, X-ray and other studies may be prescribed.

Important to know: Proper diagnosis of breast cancer


The recurrent tumor is extremely aggressive and, depending on the circumstances, the treatment scheme is somewhat different.

  1. Most often, a surgical operation with subsequent radiation, chemical or hormonal treatment is prescribed.
  2. If an organ-preserving surgical procedure was performed, but with time a relapse occurred, then a radical mastectomy with radiotherapy is done. Such treatment can be performed both before and after mastectomy.
  3. Metastases necessarily involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  4. Some types of neoplasms require treatment with hormones and immunostimulants. The same treatment scheme is prescribed if the previous therapy is ineffective.

What to do to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer?

To prevent recurrence of the disease, it is necessary to prevent the resumption of the disease. This is done after the end of the first course of treatment, because cancer cells easily penetrate from the gland into the blood, the likelihood of getting high is high.

After treatment, the oncologist necessarily tries to calculate the risk of re-occurrence of oncology. If such a probability is high, the doctor will advise a course of chemotherapy or prescribe special drugs that suppress the production of estrogen in the female body.


With local recurrence after mastectomy without lesion of lymph nodes and distant organs, the survival rate of 75% of patients is 5 years. If there are metastases, the life expectancy of patients is an average of 3 years. If the cancer was detected at the initial stage of development, then the probability of cure is high.

The patient herself is necessarily involved in the prevention of the disease, she not only follows the instructions of the attending physician, but also closely monitors the state of the breast. If there are any slight changes in the gland, the appearance of seals, excrescences, peeling, burning or discharge, it you need to immediately seek help, so that a qualified specialist professionally assesses these phenomena.

Recurrence of breast cancerNot so terrible, if it is discovered in time. The problem is more often detected 3-5 years after the previous operation, but sometimes it happens much earlier - in six months. Therefore, the condition of the glands should begin to follow immediately after discharge from the hospital after the first operation.