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While being told you are in remission following your total mastectomy is undoubtedly a reason to celebrate, chances are there’s still one thing on your mind – recurrence. It’s frustrating and scary to think that even if you’ve had your entire breast removed, your cancer might still come back. So, how likely is it that your breast cancer will recur?

The truth is that it’s impossible to know, but experts believe there are some factors that put a woman at a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence. One indicator is lymph node involvement. The more lymph nodes that had cancer at the time of the mastectomy, the greater the chance of recurrence.

Experts also believe that those who were initially diagnosed before the age of 35, those who had inflammatory breast cancer or those whose breast cancer did not respond to hormone therapy may also be at a higher risk for recurrence. However, having one or more of these risk factors isn’t a reason to panic. Just like there was no way to know that you would develop breast cancer in the first place, there’s also no way to tell if you will have a recurrence, and many survivors never experience a relapse.

What can I do to reduce the chances of breast cancer recurrence?

The best thing you can do following your breast cancer treatment is to take care of yourself. Don’t smoke, and try to exercise and maintain a healthy diet as best as you can. You should also be sure to follow your schedule for follow-up appointments closely, and continue to perform monthly self-exams on your own. If anything seems out of the ordinary, don’t be afraid to consult with your physician. As with other cancers, breast cancer recurrence is best treated when caught early.

In the event you do experience breast cancer recurrence, we invite you to come to the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, where our physicians will develop a treatment plan that is tailored to meet the challenges of your unique cancer. Other reasons to come to Moffitt for breast cancer treatment include:

  • The unparalleled knowledge and experience of our multispecialty team
  • Our robust clinical trials program
  • Our supportive care specialists

If you are experiencing breast cancer recurrence after receiving a total mastectomy, you can schedule a consultation to speak with a Moffitt physician by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online.