Treatment for recurrent breast cancer
Fo patients who are in remission, it is possible for breast cancer to resurface a long time after treatment. Recurrence can either be at original site of cancer (local recurrence), in a nearby site (regional recurrence), or in a very distant area (distant recurrence).
Treating local recurrence
For women whose breast cancer recurs locally, treatment depends on their initial treatment. If the original treatment was breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), then recurrence needs a mastectomy.
If the original treatment was breast removal (mastectomy), then local recurrence near the mastectomy site needs both surgery and radiotherapy.
Doctors may advise chemotherapy and other drug therapies in some combination after surgery and/or radiation therapy depending on the hormonal receptor status and HER2 status.
Treating regional recurrence
When breast cancer recurs in a nearby area, surgery removes the lymph nodes, partially or completely, after which doctors advise radiation therapy. Oncologists may also advise systemic treatment options such as chemotherapy, targeted therapies, or hormone therapy after surgery. However, treatment also depends on the initial treatment received by the patient, patient general condition and tumor characteristics.
Treating distant recurrence
For patients whose tutor recurs in other distant body parts like the bones, lungs, or brain, treatment protocols are similar to metastatic tumor. It is called stage IV disease. Recurrent breast cancer is harder to treat than initial occurrence. Patients often explore new treatment methods, improved therapies and clinical trials to strive for better response and survival rates.