Five Years?

Five Years?

Five Years? I was diagnosed Jan 05 aged 35 with Grade 3, Stage 1, Triple Neg. Have had lumpectomy, chemo and rads and finished all treatment in Nov 05. I now keep telling everyone that I am aiming for 5 years, then I will be ok. I am also planning a big family holiday to Florida, kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neice, the lot, once the five years are up and I am ‘all clear’. Am I mad! Does 5 years even mean anything or is this just a number I have heard mentioned somewhere. I feel like I have focused all my attention on getting passed this magic number and don’t even know whether there is anything magic about it at all. Any info that you ladies have would be most welcome.
Thanks, Karen x

Hi Karen Sadly for all of us there is no magic 5 years cause breast cancer can recur at any time…five or more years later.

For you, being triple negative, a recurrence is more likely during the first five years tham if you were er+ and pr+ with rest of your pathology the same. But if you do get to 5 years then you are statistically more likely to go longer than if you were er+ pr+. The odds even out at 10 years I think. Does that make sense?

The fact you had no lymph nodes with cancer is a good prognostic sign, but not conclusive.

We all live with uncertianty and it is bloody hard. I’d say give yourself that nice holiday now while you’re well…no point in waiting…life for any of us…and particularly if we are touched by cancer or another serious disease… is so precious we have to celebrate every bit of it now.

very best wishes


Completely agree - go on your holiday as soon as is practical. Cancer is very unpredictable but by sitting about waiting for “your five years” you are giving in - take control and do things when you want to.

Oh - have a great time and enjoy every second!

Jane Woo

Hey Karen why as jane said wait for 5 years why not do those lovely things now.

One of the things i have noticed on these BC sites is alot of people do well for a few years after treatment is finished then the bu**er raises it ugly head again. so many are sailing along thinking everything is ok and they are winnin when WHAM!!

My attitude has changed so much still is changing. If i see something i want to buy i buy it, if i want to go anywhere i go.

Very interesting about the triple negative and ER+ PR+ and prognosis ta for posting Jane.

How are you and how is the chemo going??


I repeat what the others have said karen,…my aunt was dx 17 yrs ago with BC…and it came back in her bones just over 2yrs ago…unforunately this disease is very unpredictable.


Hi Karen

I had a recurrence 18 months ago after 20 years so I don’t think there is a time limit.

Reading you profile I was your age first time round and during the 20 years I had no problems and never looked back. I see no reason to supose I should’nt have another 20 years that will make me 80 and lets face it if bc does’nt get me something will.

Just enjoy your life and make plans, you can’t live worrying about something that hopefully will never happen.

Take care.


I think the 5 year thing is the period during which you have the greatest risk of recurrence. My onc told me the first 2 years following diagnosis are the riskiest, followed by 5 years. He also said there is new research that suggests taking tamoxifen for 10 years instead of 5 improves your long term prognosis. But as other people have said, there is no magic timescale. This disease is unpredictable and can come back at any stage. Which is what I keep telling people who keep asking me if I’m “cured” or have had the “all clear”. I say get on with your life and do what you want to do now.


Like you, I plan to have a big, celebration holiday once I get to that 5 years mark (but mine is in the Maldives with my husband). That’ll be next March and I’ll be 36.

Trouble is, I had a regional recurrence diagnosed last September. I’m still going on that holiday, though. I just won’t be celebrating the “all clear”. Do what you can when you can 'cause, with or without cancer, none of us has a guarantee.


Mel x

You do not know what is coming Two years after having a mastectomy, and after going for my check-ups several times, I was told everything appeared OK, but that a spot on my nose was cancerous. It was nothing to do with breast cancer, and would not spread, but I had to have radiotherapy on it to stop it getting bigger and spoiling my nose.
I had had it for about 4 years, and no one had mentioned it while I was going through my treatment.
While I had been worrying about cancer on my breast, there was also cancer under my nose (well almost)


Thank You … for all your kind replies. I kinda feel a bit weird not having my magic 5 year marker to aim for anymore. I feel like I put my life on hold when I was diagnosed and was waiting for the 5 year mark before I started it up again and now I don’t have that reason (excuse!) for not doing things. However, I totally understand what you have said about doing things now because you never can be sure what is around the corner and so have therefore been to the travel agent this morning and got some prices for early next year. All being well and if we can get the money together in time (I gave up work following diagnosis to spend more time with my kids so money is a bit of an issue) then we are off. It might take me while to get my head around things but I am determined to get my life back on track as soon as I can and start living for today and not tomorrow.
Thanks again for all your kind words and advice.
Karen x

KAREN I hope we haven’t upset you by our posts re five years…none of us would want to do that…
I am glad however that you’ve been enquirig about your holiday and hopefully, finances permitting [we all know that one!!] you will be able to arrange it for early next year.
I admire you giving up work to spend more time with kids, BC does seem to make you priorotise [spelling] things differently…it certainly has me.
Live for today, nobody knows what tomorrow might bring with or without BC.

karen x