A cancer that has come back after it could not be detected is considered recurrent cancer. The cancer treatment for recurrent cancer will depend primarily on the location and extent of the cancer. Also, the type of cancer treatment that was performed prior is also considered.
If breast cancer comes back only in the breast after breast-sparing surgery, a mastectomy may be performed on the patient. Probabilities are good that the disease will not come back again.
If cancer is found in other parts of the body, the cancer treatment may involve chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy. Radiation therapy can help to control cancer that appears in the chest muscles or in other areas of the body.
In most cases, patients with advanced stages of cancer will have hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or both. They may also have biological therapy. Radiation therapy can be used to control tumors in certain parts of the body. Although these treatments probably will not cure the disease, they may help a patient live longer.
Many patients have supportive care along with anticancer treatments. Anticancer treatments are given to slow the progress of the disease. Supportive care helps manage pain, other symptoms, or side effects (such as nausea). It does not aim to extend a patient’s life. Supportive care can help a patient feel better physically and emotionally. Some patients with advanced cancer decide to have only supportive care.
Cancer treatment can rarely cure a cancer that recurs outside the breast. Supportive care is often an important part of the cancer treatment plan. Many patients have supportive care to relieve their symptoms and anticancer treatments to slow the growth of the disease. Some simply receive supportive care to advance their quality of life.
Source of information: National Cancer Institute – www.cancer.gov