Breast cancer recurrence refers to the possibility that cancer may return after a patient has undergone adequate treatment
Breast cancer recurrence can happen at any time after treatment has been completed. The highest risk is within the first five years however recurrences can occur even up to 20 years after surgery.
This can occur because microscopic cancer cells may either be unknowingly left behind at the time of surgery or may have escaped to another area of the breast or body prior to treatment being initiated.
A breast cancer recurrence can be local or distant.
A local recurrence is cancer that has returned within close proximity of where it was initially in the breast.
A distant recurrence is cancer cells that have shown up in other areas of the body. Typically for breast cancer this could be the bone, liver, lungs or brain.
The best way to catch a recurrence early is to have regular check ups by your breast surgeon and your oncologist.