Having and beating breast cancer is a call for celebration. However, there’s always a risk of breast cancer recurrence, which is when breast cancer comes back after successful treatment.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, our team, including our board-certified family medicine physician, Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, focuses on wellness and preventative care. Though we don’t treat breast cancer directly, we do help our breast cancer survivors do everything possible to stay in remission.
How can you reduce your risk of a breast cancer recurrence? We want to share some things you can do to stay well.
About breast cancer recurrence
If you had breast cancer, you’re at risk of recurrence. However, the risk is relatively low and depends on the cancer type, stage, and treatment.
If you had a lumpectomy for a local tumor, risk of recurrence ranges from 3-15%. Having radiation therapy following your surgery can help lower the chances of your breast cancer from coming back.
If you had a mastectomy, your risk of breast cancer recurrence is about 6% if there was no cancer present in the axillary lymph nodes (lymph nodes under your armpit). Your risk of recurrence increases significantly if your cancer spreads to these lymph nodes. However, you can reduce your risk by undergoing radiation therapy after your mastectomy.
Lifestyle changes to reduce risk
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence is to stay as healthy as possible.
That doesn’t mean you need to follow a complicated diet or exercise for hours. Staying as healthy as possible means eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity so you can get to and maintain a healthy weight.
Filling your diet with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein may help you stay cancer-free, reports the ACS. Though there’s no specific guideline for exercise, breast cancer survivors who engage in more physical activity are less likely to experience a recurrence.
Though the evidence is mixed, the ACS says its best to not drink alcohol following breast cancer. Alcohol increases estrogen production, putting you at risk of your cancer returning.
How we can help
Making changes to your lifestyle can be hard. That’s why we offer wellness and preventative care services. These services include nutritional counseling, health screenings, and guidance and support on how to live your best, healthiest life without cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re due for your mammogram, we can help you get it set up. Women ages 45-54 should have a mammogram every year.
No matter where you are on your health journey, we can provide the guidance and support you need. For primary care, annual exams, or guidance in making lifestyle changes to help prevent a return of breast cancer, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.