Signs of breast cancer recurrence

Kevin Fox, MD
Last Modified: February 24, 2002

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in May 2001. I had a radical mastectomy. My surgeons tell me I am free of cancer. I would like to know what I should be looking for in case of reccurrence. I am aware that the best indicator of reccurrence is how well I know my body and to detect any changes. What changes should I be looking for?  


Kevin Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Patients concerned about recurrence should report, in my opinion, any symptom that has no obvious explanation, and lasts for more than a week. If a patient drops a tire iron on their foot and their foot hurts, it need not be reported. If they have a week of back pain, and don't know where it came from, it should be reported. Routine x-rays and scans, other than annual mammograms, are not recommended.

RSNA: MRI May Improve Breast Cancer Detection Rate

Mar 3, 2015 - In women at high risk of breast cancer, adding magnetic resonance imaging after three years of screening with mammography and ultrasound increases the cancer detection rate, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago. In other news, for women aged 30 to 39 years with focal signs or symptoms, adding mammography to ultrasound may not significantly increase the cancer detection rate.

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