Breast Cancer – Recurrence Risk Information

The most common cancer in women of the United States is breast cancer. This disease affects white women more than black women, but black women have a much higher death rate from it. When a person is treated for the disease, doctors try to remove all the cancer cells from the body. This can be difficult though and sometimes some of the cells may remain and cause the tumor to return. This is called recurrence.

You are most at risk for recurrence the first two years after a breast cancer treatment. Women who have recurrence usually have it happen within two years after their surgery. Not everyone has it return though. There are many ways to determine what your risk is of having your cancer return.

The first thing doctors usually will do to determine your risk of recurrence is to check and see if you have cancer cells present in your lymph nodes, under your arm. If you have them there, then you will be at a higher risk than women who don’t have them present in the lymph nodes. The will also be able to access your risk by the size of your tumor. The larger the tumor is, the more likely you are to have it return.

Another thing your doctor may do is look at your cancer cells under a microscope and study them. A lot of information can be derived from this. They will first check your cells to see how fast they grow. If your cancer cells grow very quickly then you will have a higher risk for recurrence. Another thing that they will look at under the microscope is the size and shape of your cells. If they look a lot like your normal cells, then you will be at a lower risk than someone whose cells look different than normal cells.

Your doctor may also check you to determine if there are hormone receptors in your tumor. If you have these receptors, then that means that the cancer cells depend on your hormones to grow. This makes it much more difficult for the cancer to grow because hormone levels in your body are always changing. If your cancer doesn’t have any hormone receptors then that will make it much easier for it to grow and will also increase your risk of recurrence.

Once you have your cancer treated, your doctor will do all he can to prevent that tumor from returning. There are many different types of treatments available to patients after they have surgery to get rid of any cancer cells the surgery may have missed. It is very important to have treatment after surgery because it can be extremely difficult to remove all the cancer cells in a person’s body. Usually, some of the cancer cells will have broken away from the tumor and will have gone to other parts of the body. The treatments that are most commonly used after surgery are chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.

Doctors are always studying breast cancer and researching new and better ways to treat it. They have made so many advances in this field that the risk of dying from breast cancer has decreased by twenty five percent! It is very important that you talk to your doctor about your recurrence risk and learn all you can about the disease so that you will know the best way to take care of yourself and what you can do to prevent the disease from returning.

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