Watch Out for These Breast Cancer Recurrence Symptoms
Breast cancer recurrence symptoms may occur in the first three to five years after initial treatment. Breast cancer can come back as a local recurrence (in the treated breast or near the mastectomy scar) or as a distant recurrence somewhere else in the body. Breast cancer recurrence depends on how much the cancer has spread. Breast cancer recurrence symptoms may vary depending on whether a lumpectomy or mastectomy was performed. Women who have had a lumpectomy should be alert for signs of a new lump or an area of firmness, a thickened area, a pulling back of the skin at the lumpectomy site, redness or swelling, or a change in appearance of the nipple such as flattening or indentation. Women who have had a mastectomy should watch for signs of painless nodules or any area of thickening near the mastectomy scar.
If you have cancer that recurs in the same area (local recurrence), you may have some of these breast cancer recurrence symptoms such as:
* A lump or thickening in the breast, chest wall, or armpit after you has had breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy. You may notice that the skin of your chest looks or feels different.
* A change in the size or shape of the breast or a dimple or pucker in the skin of the breast.
* Discharge or bleeding from the nipple that occurs without squeezing the nipple (spontaneous discharge).
* A change in the nipple, such as a scaly or crusty look or a nipple that draws inward (retraction or inversion).
Recurrent breast cancer is often found before symptoms appear, either on a chest X-ray or as part of another test.
The possibility of recurrence is something that the survivors do not want to think about. It makes sense for every woman to arm herself with information to be prepared to recognize symptoms of recurrence. Some health care providers even recommend that women have mammograms every six months for the first few years after cancer treatment, while others recommend a regular schedule of annual mammograms. You should talk with your doctor to determine the best schedule for you. And if you are not performing regular breast self-exams, you should ask your doctor to teach you how. For a successful treatment, it is vital for you to get an early detection of breast cancer recurrence symptoms.