Breast Cancer Recurrence Tackling It Through Effective Prevention

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By Admin

Cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the breast. It is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second most common cancer overall. While advances in treatment have led to higher survival rates, the fear of breast cancer recurrence is a common concern for many survivors. 

Breast cancer recurrence – all about it 

When breast cancer comes back after initial treatment, it is called breast cancer recurrence. This happens when a few cancer cells do not get eliminated by the treatment and they grow and multiply without getting detected. Breast cancer recurrence may take months or years to develop following the prior treatment. The cancer could re-occur in the same place – local recurrence or it may spread to other parts of the body – distant recurrence.  

Some of the common signs of breast cancer recurrence are: 

A new lump in your breast or irregular area of firmness 

Changes to the skin of your breast 

Skin inflammation or area of redness 

Nipple discharge 

Persistent and worsening pain, such as chest, back or hip pain 

Persistent cough 

Difficulty breathing 

Loss of appetite 

Weight loss without trying 

Severe headaches 


Preventing breast cancer recurrence 

Having a healthy Lifestyle: One of the most effective ways to prevent breast cancer recurrence is by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoiding processed and sugary foods. Exercise is also important for breast cancer prevention as it can help to reduce the risk of recurrence. One must aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. 

Other lifestyle factors that may influence the risk of breast cancer recurrence include alcohol consumption, tobacco use and weight management. It is recommended to limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day and to avoid tobacco use altogether. Maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise can also help to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.  

Going for follow-up care after the treatment: Another important step in preventing breast cancer recurrence is to continue with follow-up care after treatment has ended. This may include regular check-ups with a healthcare provider, mammograms, and breast exams. It is important to discuss any concerns or changes in one’s health with the healthcare provider, as they can help to identify any potential issues early on and provide appropriate treatment. 

Having appropriate medications: In some cases, medication may be recommended to help prevent breast cancer recurrence. Hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor may be prescribed for women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer. These medications work by blocking the effects of oestrogen, which can fuel the growth of breast cancer cells. Other medications, such as bisphosphonates may be recommended to help prevent bone loss in women with breast cancer that has spread to the bones. 

Being aware of genetic risk factors: It is also important for breast cancer survivors to be aware of any genetic risk factors that may increase their likelihood of developing breast cancer. If one has a family history of breast cancer or carries a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, the healthcare provider may recommend genetic testing and counselling to assess one’s risk of breast cancer recurrence. In some cases, preventive measures such as prophylactic surgery (such as a mastectomy) may be recommended.  

Therapies: Also, there are some common therapies recommended by doctors to reduce the risk of another cancer recurrence. Hormone therapy is used when through medications the growth-promoting effects of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone is blocked. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells.   chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and is recommended post-surgery. And biological targeted therapies are recommended when testing shows your cancer cells produce excess HER2 protein and medications are used to target that protein. 

Finding support: It is important to find support during this time. Breast cancer can be a difficult and emotionally taxing experience and it is important to have a support system in place to help you cope with the challenges that may arise. This may include family, friends, support groups, or a mental health professional. 

 While the fear of breast cancer recurrence is a common concern for many survivors, there are steps that can be taken to prevent it from the roots. A healthy lifestyle, regular follow-up care and appropriate medication can help to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. It is also important to be aware of any genetic risk factors and to find support during this time. By taking these steps, breast cancer survivors can increase their chances of staying healthy and cancer-free in the long term. 

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