Recurrence of Breast Cancer: Overview
Recurrence of breast cancer is rare. However, if it occurs, the options for reconstruction are impacted by the treatment choices that were made for the original cancer treatment. There is also a risk of breast cancer occurring in the opposite breast. This risk is typically low, often thought to be less than 0.5% per year for many patients. The options for reconstruction of the opposite breast are also influenced by the original treatment decision.
Treament of Breast Cancer Recurrance
It is common to require radiation for treatment of a recurrence. Radiation increases the risk of capsular contracture (hardening of breast tissues) if a breast was reconstructed using an implant.
If you have previously undergone lumpectomy and radiation, mastectomy will be required for treatment of a recurrence. Reconstruction typically involves bringing in tissue from non-radiated areas of the body due to the poor healing capacity and inability to stretch of the previously radiated skin.
What If I’ve Had a DIEP?
If a DIEP or other abdominal tissue flap was previously used for breast reconstruction, your surgeon may not use the lower abdomen again. This is because the blood vessels from this area may only be used one time.
How Your Plastic Surgeon Can Help
In each case, your plastic surgeon will discuss options for treatment with you before settling on the choice that best meets your needs and goals.