Breast Cancer Recurrence Rates by Stage

What is breast cancer recurrence?

Breast cancer recurrence (or recurrent carcinoma ) describes breast cancer that comes back after treatment. Breast cancer can come back months or years after treatment is over and you’ve been arrested. When you’re arrested , tests show no signs of disease and you’ve got no symptoms.







What causes breast cancer recurrence?

Cancer therapies aim to eliminate cancer cells.. But, cancer cells are tricky. Treatments can reduce tumors such a lot that tests don’t detect their presence. These weakened cells can remain within the body after treatment. Over time, the cells get stronger. They start to grow and multiply again.

Even surgery to get rid of a cancerous tumor isn’t always 100% effective. Cancer cells can enter nearby tissue, lymph nodes or the bloodstream before surgery takes place.

What are the types of breast cancer recurrence?

If you develop cancer within the opposite, untreated breast (but not anywhere else within the body), you receive a replacement carcinoma diagnosis. This isn’t the same as breast cancer recurrence.

When breast cancer returns, it may be:

  • Local: Cancer returns within the same breast or chest area because the original tumor.
  • Regional: Cancer comes back near the first tumor, in lymph nodes within the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) or collarbone area.
  • Distant: carcinoma spreads faraway from the first tumor to the lungs, bones, brain or other parts of the body. This is metastatic cancer, often mentioned as stage 4 carcinoma .

Local recurrence rate in breast cancer

THE RISK of local recurrence in carcinoma “does not differ substantially supported the operation we perform, but it does differ substantially by subtype,” Tari A. King MD, FACS, stated at the 2018 Lynn Sage carcinoma Symposium in Chicago.1 At 10-year follow-up, Local recurrence rates after breast conservation surgery or mastectomy for patients with luminal A subtype cancers are 2 percent to 3 percent, and 10 percent to 12 percent for patients with triple-negative cancers, according to King.

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Age Is Not a Factor

“THIS RELATIONSHIP between local recurrence and molecular subtype holds true, even once we take age under consideration ,” Dr. King stated. A study comparing 1,930 patients with stage I to III triple-negative carcinoma diagnosed before and after age 40 found no difference in overall local recurrence rates by age, operation performed, or regional recurrence rates,3 Dr. King stated.

Age shouldn’t be an element choose which surgery to use. A British Columbia Cancer Agency study of 965 patients, aged 20 to 39 years, with early-stage carcinoma found, at a median of 14.4 years, no difference in local recurrence–free, regional recurrence–free, disease-free, or overall survival supported the type of operation performed,4 Dr. King reported.

Distant recurrence rate in breast cancer

After a mean follow-up of 12.8 years from diagnosis, 523 distant recurrences were recorded among women within the cohort (23% of 2312) and 604 women (26%) died of carcinoma . For the 484 women who had a foreign recurrence on record and died of carcinoma , the mean solar time from distant recurrence to death was 2.0 years (range 0-11.9 years). In a statistical method , only two factors were significantly related to time to death after distant recurrence: ER status positive vs. negative, HR0.56; 95% CI0.43-0.71; p=0.0001), and tumor grade (high vs. poor, HR1.87; 95% CI1.16-3.01; p= 0.01).High tumor grade and a short time from diagnosis to distant recurrence were linked to a rapid time to death among ER-negative patients (N= 175). There was no important independent predictor of time from recurrence to death among ER-positive patients (N= 336).

What are the symptoms of breast cancer recurrence?

You may experience different signs of carcinoma recurrence counting on where the cancer forms.

Local breast cancer recurrence may cause:

  • A lump in the breast or bumps on or under the chest.
  • Nipple changes, like flattening or nipple discharge.
  • Swollen or pulling skin near the lumpectomy site.
  • Thickening on or near the surgical scar.
  • Unusually firm breast tissue.

Regional breast cancer recurrence may cause:

    • Chronic chest pain.
    • Difficulty swallowing.




  • One arm or shoulder may experience pain, swelling, or numbness.
  • Lymph nodes swollen under the arm, near the collarbone, or in the breastbone.

Distant (metastatic or stage 4) carcinoma can involve any organ including bones, lungs, brain or liver. Symptoms depend on where the cancer spreads. You may experience:

Bone pain or pain within the affected area (metastatic carcinoma pain).

  • Chronic dry cough.
  • Dizziness, balance problems or seizures.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea and weight loss.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Numbness or weakness.
  • Vision problems.

How common is breast cancer recurrence?

Most local recurrences of carcinoma occur within five years of a lumpectomy. You can lower your risk by getting radiotherapy afterward. You have a third to fifteen chance of carcinoma recurrence within 10 years with this combined treatment. Your physician can prescribe additional treatments based on genetic testing to further reduce your risk.

After a mastectomy, chemotherapy, or other treatments, breast cancer cells can persist. Over time, these cells can grow, causing carcinoma recurrence. After surgery, breast cancer can recur months or years later.. Stage 4, or metastatic carcinoma, occurs when cancer spreads to other organs or bones. There are many treatments for recurrent breast cancer.

Recurrence rates for people who have mastectomies vary:

  • there’s a 6% chance of cancer returning within five years if the healthcare providers didn’t find cancer in axillary lymph nodes during the first surgery.
  • there’s a 1 in four chance of cancer recurrence if axillary lymph nodes are cancerous. This risk drops to 6% if you get radiation therapy after the mastectomy.

How is breast cancer recurrence managed or treated?

Your treatment depends on the sort of cancer recurrence, also as past treatments. If cancer develops during a reconstructed breast, your surgeon might want to get rid of the implant or skin flap.

Treatments for local and regional carcinoma recurrence may include:

  • Mastectomy: Mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes the affected breast (or both breasts) as well as lymph nodes.
  • Chemotherapy (chemo) is a drug that circulates in the bloodstream and kills cancer cells.
  • Tamoxifen and other hormone treatments are used to treat tumors that thrive on estrogen (hormone positive).
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy (biological therapy) engages your body’s system to fight cancer.
  • • Radiation therapy: Cancer cells are damaged and destroyed by high-energy X-ray rays..
  • Targeted therapy: Treatments target specific neoplastic cell genes or proteins.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for people that have carcinoma recurrence?

Many factors affect survivorship after breast cancer recurrence. Everyone’s situation is different.

In general, your chances of life five years after diagnosis are:

  • 99% for localized breast cancer.
  • 86% for regional breast cancer.
  • 27% for distant (metastatic) breast cancer.




Most breast cancer recurrences respond well to treatments. You may be ready to try new drugs or combination therapies in development in clinical trials. Your healthcare provider can discuss the simplest treatment option supported your unique situation.

Breast Cancer Recurrence Rates by Stage

Breast Cancer Recurrence Rates by Stage

Mayo Clinic

Breast Cancer Recurrence Rates by Stage