Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence

Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence

Approximately 10% of women receiving radiation therapy and lumpectomy for the treatment of breast cancer are likely to get a recurrence in about 12 years. There is no possible method to entirely eradicate the probability of breast cancer recurrence. Though, there are some things that you can do to reduce the risk of return of the disease.

Lifestyle Changes

According to a research conducted by University of California, involving about 1550 women who earlier underwent a treatment, women with maximum plasma carotenoid ratio had lower chances for a recurrence by about 40%.

You can get high plasma carotenoid concentration from eating vegetables and fruits. Beta-carotene is present in carrots, cantaloupe, kale, and spinach etc., lycopene is present in apricots, pink grapefruits, and tomatoes etc., and lutien is present in broccoli, collards and leafy vegetables. All the desired nutrients are present in vegetables and fruits, so consuming more of them reduces the risks of cancer recurrence.

Overweight women have higher chances of a reappearance, so if you are overweight, you should try to reduce your weight, and consume less fats. Also, you should exercise more. You can go on morning or evening walks to increase your physical activity.

If you consume alcohol or tobacco, quit these habits now, as they highly enhance the risks of breast cancer recurrence.


Some women take hormone therapy after their menopause. This enhances the risk of recurrence. Avoid any hormone therapy including transvaginal, tropical, and oral medications. If you are required to get estrogen replacements, make sure you also take progesterone supplements, as it reduces the hazards that estrogen has over breasts.

You can take tamoxifen, which is an SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator). It is given to both male and female breast cancer patients for suppressing estrogen and preventing the return of breast cancer. Tamoxifen should not be taken with juice of grapefruit. Also, pregnant women should not take this drug. Some common side effects of tamoxifen are menopause symptoms, like vaginal dryness, irregular menstrual cycle, headache, fatigue etc.

You can undergo precautionary surgery to decrease the chances of a recurrence. Undergoing bilateral mastectomy can reduce the chances of breast cancer recurrence by as much as 90%. It is the surgical removal of one or both breasts, and it greatly helps reduce the chances of return of breast cancer. Preventive mastectomy is of two types: subcutaneous mastectomy and total mastectomy. In subcutaneous mastectomy, the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple is left, whereas in total mastectomy, breast tissue is removed along with the nipple. According to American Cancer Society, removal of the ovaries decreases risk of breast cancer recurrence by 50%.

Generally, a woman who had cancer in one breast has more chances of developing cancer in the opposite breast. Prevention is very important when it comes to breast cancer. It is a deadly disease, and has high chances of recurrence. It is better to follow a healthy living style to be safe from the return of breast cancer.

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