50% chance of recurrence - feeling worried


I thought I was doing pretty well, trying to think positive most of the time and trying not to think about cancer so much but today I was told by my Oncologist that my risk of recurrence was 50%. I was diagnosed in May 2013 with invasive breast cancer and had 6 FEC-T chemo (to reduce the lumps as had 3) then a right mastectomy in October 2013 with levels 1 & 2 lymph nodes removed 9 out of 12 lymph nodes had cancer, followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy in January 2014. During the masectomy a small part of my chest muscle was also removed as the cancer was close to the muscle wall. I was hoping to have a muscle sparing free tram reconstruction this year but was told by my PS it will be sometime next year as he is waiting for my skin to settle after radiotherapy.

Although I had coped with everything pretty well and carried on working (having only 3 weeks off after mastectomy) before I returned to a full time job.

I am finding it harder to stay positive and fear that the cancer may come back, I was so shocked to hear that I had a 50% chance of the cancer returning. I am a single mum with a 13 year old son and I am feeling scared every day that I might not be there for him.

Has anyone else been told what their chances of recurrence are? And if high, how do you cope?



I am not in your position but I do feel for you. I have two thoughts on the subject. One is that I know so many women who did have a recurrence but who lived a long time, ten years, fifteen years with secondaries (some still alive now). Not everyone has the same secondaries, but I think long survival is much more common now than it used to be.

Secondly, I was told my chances were 85%, I think, but can’t remember if that was before chemo. My cancer was discovered so early that I had expected a better prognosis. But whatever, I tend to think of my chances as 50/50: either it will come back, or it won’t. I hope that doesn’t sound callous. But after all, even if my chances were 25%, I would still have a chance.


I’m sure others with more experience will be along.

Hi crazybirdy,


When I was coming to the end of chemo in April/May 2013, I had to discuss radiotherapy with my onco. I didn’t want to have it as I have a serious lung condition and didn’t want to take any chances with that. So I asked what percentage risk I would have bearing in mind I am taking Anastrazole for at least five years. I was told less than 20% in my mastectomy scar but 50% in my axillary lymph nodes - I had three removed, one of which contained cancer cells.


I am 63 with 5 grown up children and seven grandchildren. I have RA, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Bronchiectasis with pseudomonas colonization of my lungs (a recurring problem) Osteopenia, and now Nodular Prurigo and Lichen Simplex. I am more scared of the condition of my lungs than I am of cancer coming back or worse, I was in hospital again in April this year with another colonization. That means 14 days on intravenous antibiotics, breathing difficulties etc. So I hardly ever think about a recurrance, only now and then.


Sending hugs. xx

Hi crazybirdy…not in same situation as you, don’t know my chance of recurrance; however do know stats for predicted 5 and 10 year survival. Statistics are based on historical data, and as everyone’s diagnosis is unique to them, no-one can accurately say what the future holds for any one of us.

I am nearly 3 years post diagnosis and have managed by practising mindfulness, having a go at simple meditation and on ‘wobbly’ days revisit this article which helps me put how I feel in perspective


Life after cancer can be difficult and lonely and when you start to look more like your ‘old self’ on the outside, people expect you to bounce back. All I can offer is to take small steps, live in the moment and try not to think about the ‘what ifs’…easy to write; much harder to do!

Does your local MacMillan or similar offer holistic therapies or opportunities to talk through how you feel? Maybe give the BCC helpline a ring? Oncs and other health professionals are excellent (generally) at what they do; however mine was very matter of fact and didn’t really address the emotional side at all!

Hope some of this helps a little…all the best, be kind to yourself and take it easy xx

Hi crazybird(, love the name )

if you can, read my blog from breast buddy, i’v had breast cancer 3 times now in nearly 25 years, like you, i,m a single mum and my son was 14 at the time i was diagnosed, i know it sounds easy to learn to live with it, but we both know its not, i still get scared especially when i go back yearly for my checkups, so, be kind to yourself, none of us are superwoman, we are entitled to shed a few tears if we need to, big hug xxx

Hi, i do hope that you wont mind my posting here - I’m early in my treatment and I’m sorry that I haven’t anything usefull to add to this thread, but I wanted to say thanks Maryland for posting/linking the article in your post…i think it offers insight into where many if not all of us will be at the end of active treatment. I found it a comfort even at my early stage in aĺl of this as it is an acknowledging read…if you get my drift…take care and thanks x

Hi Maryland, the information and support on this forum is amazing…I’m not sure if I’m a group forum participant or like you more of a "dipper’, but I hope I will be able to contribute something useful for others along the way as well as benefitting from others contributions. Lets all take care if ourselves xx