Risk of Recurrence in Early Breast Cancer
Current approaches to treating early breast cancer, including adjuvant therapy, have indeed improved survival and reduced recurrence. However, the risk of recurrence may be underestimated by some women, but overestimated by others.
While the risk of recurrence does diminish somewhat over time, ongoing risk has been observed in many studies, some of them involving tens of thousands of women with breast cancer. In fact, some of the women who experienced recurrence after five years in these studies had previously been considered "low risk" - for example, their cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes at the time of their initial diagnosis, or their estrogen receptor status was positive. In one of these studies, a substantial number of recurrences occurred more than five years post-treatment.