Breast cancer can come back after 15 years
Breast cancer can resurface after remaining dormant for 15 years following successful treatment, a study has found.
Patients who appear cancer-free when they stop therapy may relapse many years later with tumours spreading through their body, new research shows.
Scientists analysed data from 88 clinical trials involving 62,923 women, all of whom were treated for the most common form of breast cancer.
After five years of therapy, their cancers had gone. But monitoring the women's progress revealed recurrences of the disease up to 15 years later.
Women who started off with large tumours and cancer that had spread to four or more lymph nodes faced the highest risk of recurrence. They had a 40pc risk of cancer returning in a different part of the body over a period of 15 years.