Breast Cancer Recurrence

Expert advice on breast cancer recurrence from the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families.
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Q. "If I have a lumpectomy and I get a recurrence, will I have to have a mastectomy then? Can I have reconstruction after radiation?"

A. Most women who have a lumpectomy followed by radiation will not have a recurrence in the same breast. A recurrence in the same breast does not reduce a woman's chance for a healthy recovery. It probably, however, will require surgery, and a woman may decide to have a mastectomy at that time, because radiation is not recommended a second time. Breast reconstruction is possible after radiation but the surgery may be more difficult to perform, and this should be discussed with a plastic surgeon.


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