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Metastatic or Recurrent Breast Cancer


Metastatic breast cancer occurs when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. Recurrent breast cancer occurs when breast cancer comes back after treatment.

Metastatic breast cancer

Metastatic breast cancer can be present when a woman is first diagnosed with cancer. Or it may occur months to years after treatment. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread to another part of the body, such as the bones, liver, or lungs.

Recurrent breast cancer

Breast cancer that comes back in the same breast or in your surgery scar is called local recurrence. Breast cancer that comes back in another part of the body, such as the lungs, is called distant recurrence.

Local recurrent breast cancer can sometimes be treated with success. Distant recurrent breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer usually can't be cured. But with treatment, some women live for many years.

Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDouglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Last RevisedAugust 11, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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