DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Recurrent breast cancer is breast cancer that comes back after initial treatment. Although treatment is aimed at eliminating all cancer cells, a few may survive. These undetected cancer cells multiply, becoming recurrent breast cancer.
Recurrent breast cancer may occur months or years after your initial treatment. The cancer may come back in the same place as the original tumor, known as local recurrence. Or it may spread to other areas, typically your bones, liver or lungs, known as distant recurrence.
Learning you have recurrent breast cancer may be harder than dealing with the initial diagnosis. But having recurrent breast cancer is far from hopeless. Treatment may eliminate local, regional or distant recurrent breast cancer. Even if a cure isn't possible, treatment may control the disease.
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