Cancer recurrence

THERE are a few cases in Fiji of breast cancer recurrence, it has been revealed.

Fiji Cancer Society representative and cancer survivor Maryanne Wong Lee said apart from the women who had undergone double mastectomy (surgical removal of breasts), Fiji had a few cases of breast cancer recurrence.

“In some cases, the cancer came back a few years later which is why the women had to remove their second breast and so some of the women did have recurrence,” Ms Wong Lee said.

“But for some, the cancer was already in both breasts at the same time.”

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer may come back after treatment and sometimes it could be years later.

This is called a recurrence and can be local, in the same breast or in the mastectomy scar, regional in nearby lymph nodes or in a distant area,” the society said.

“Cancer that is found in the opposite breast is not a recurrence, it is a new cancer that requires its own treatment.

“For women whose breast cancer has recurred locally, treatment depends on their initial treatment.”

The society said for breast-conserving surgery, the treatment was mastectomy.

“But if the initial treatment was mastectomy, recurrence near the mastectomy site is treated by removing the tumor whenever possible.

“When breast cancer comes back in nearby lymph nodes such as those under the arm or around the collar bone, it is treated by removing those lymph nodes.

“In general, women whose breast cancer comes back in other organs, such as the bones, lungs, or brain, are treated the same way as those found to have stage IV breast cancer in these organs when they were first diagnosed.”

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