Triple negative breast cancer recurrence is believed to depend, in part, on the same risk factors that are associated with the recurrence of other types of breast cancer. Sometimes, aggressive breast cancer cells are able to withstand treatment – even surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These rogue cells can travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic channels, which transport lymph fluid as it drains from the breasts into the lymph nodes. While every patient and every cancer is unique, some factors that are believed to influence the likelihood of triple negative and other types of breast cancer recurrence include:
- An initial diagnosis at age 35 or younger
- Large tumors
- Lymph node involvement
- Undergoing lumpectomy without radiation therapy
After completing initial triple negative breast cancer treatment, a patient will usually be scheduled for regular checkups, which can include physical examinations and mammograms. Over time, the risk of breast cancer recurrence decreases, and the frequency of these checkups will usually also decrease to the point that the patient is being evaluated once a year. However, if a patient has remaining breast tissue after surgical or other breast cancer treatment, the possibility of developing a new cancer in the same or opposite breast does not decrease over time. Therefore, it is important for all patients to protect themselves by remaining vigilant for symptoms, performing monthly breast self-exams and promptly reporting any concerns to a physician.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our groundbreaking cancer research has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and we are the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. As we continue to build our knowledge base, we develop and refine advanced techniques for screening, diagnosing and treating all forms of breast cancer. We also offer our patients access to promising new therapies via clinical trials, through which we evaluate new ways to improve breast cancer survival rates and enhance our patients’ quality of life.