Time bomb??

Time bomb??

Time bomb?? I have my worry guts hat on again (is it ever off?).
I think I remember onc saying to me that the first 2/3 years post diagnosis was the peak time for reoccurrence, (why is this?) , thereafter chances are reduced but there is another “blip” period around 6/7 years. Does anyone know if this relates to local or distant reoccurance(or both)?, and has anyone been given different information?
There are clearly women on here who have re-lapsed some years after diagnosis so I’m aware I will never be fear free, but I’m happy to see many are living full lives nontheless, -you are an inspiration to me.
Hope everyone stays safe and well.

Yes it is Yes the first 2/3 years after diagnosis there are a lot of recurrences (both local and mets.) As far as local is concerned sometimes surgey or rads has just left a few cells behind which then start to grow. As far as mets are concerend the early recurrence is (I think) because the cancer is particularly aggressive and has found a suitable environment in another organ to grow. No one really knows why some cancers grow easily again and some don’t, but there is some important research going on in this area. People who get an early recurrence may also find that the mets kill them more quickly because their cancer is particularly aggressive and unresponsive to treatments. (Again no one knows why some primary cancers respond to chemo and some don’t.)

er- and pr- cancers are more likely to recur in the first 2/3 and up to 5 years than er+ and pr+ ones. This is because there is no ‘safety net’ of tamoxifen or arimidex etc. After 5 years (so proabbly at 6/7 years) there is an increase in recurrences of er+ and pr+ cancers because that’s the time when the tamoxifen stops working. By 10 years the survival and disease free rates for hormone pos and neg are about the same.

As ever don’t take my word for it…this is all gleaned from being an avid reader of all things breast cancer. As I’m sure I’ve said in other threads to you I am triple negative, had a lot of nodes with cancer, grade 3, and am still well 3 plus years afterwards. I never thought I would be…still don’t intellectually think I’ll survive 10 years…but who knows hoping to be wrong.

It is just so true that the stats are about groups of people not about any one of us as individuals.

best wishes


Hello Jane Your posts always seem knowledgable and factual to me. I used to shy away from all things breast cancer because it used to scare me witless -it still does , but I know now that over time I’ve read the worst ( I hope!!) and in any event knowledge can’t alter what will happen to me.
The “aggressive” bit mystifies me. I know grade 3 cancers are “aggressive” and I know HER 2 cancers are "aggressive -although in this case that seems to be more important if you are node pos. As you say, “aggressive” cancers dont always metastisise, whilst some do -I guess when they have the answer to that one, there will be better treatments.
By the way -I’m with you on my intellectual chances of long term survival but I live in hope!

Pessimism of the intellect What feels like a lifetime ago duirng the dark days of diagnosis a good friend described my stance as: “pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will” (the Marxist Gramsci first said this about revolution).

Its kind of remained my motto…I hate the positive thinking lobby and the distinctions between glass half full and glass half empty people. I think hope is rather more complex and needs to be tempered wth realism.

Thought for the day.


To Cherry and Jane Cherry we both have very similar diagnoses and I am trying to remain very positive about my prognosis. I know we share the same Onc and I don’t see why we should not share the same very good prognosis that he gave me unprompted just before my Chemo started. He told me that I shouldn’t spend my future thinking about when it was going to return because I had over a 90% chance that I would be around in 10 years time. I am keeping all my “what ifs” at bay. I just know I have to keep living for my husband and children. There is a website called adjuvant online which seems to support this (well it shows that my chances are just under 90% actually).

Jane your quote is perfect. Thanks

Frances & Jane Jane -I’m going to adopt your quote -I love it , and Frances I’m going to try and adopt a bit more of your optimism!
Thank you ladies

This disease can be quite bizarre in the way it acts. I had grade 3 , 5 cm tumor in my right breast 13 years ago with 15 or 17 nodes positive. My outlook was quite grim and the statistics quoted my as having 40% chance of living 5 years. I then had a small tumor in my left breast with no positive nodes 8 years ago and have had a local recurrence with that one. I was totally blown away that it had recurred when it was so small and considered insignificant compared with the first one. So my point is don’t think because your tumor is large and aggressive it is necessarily going to get you .

Jane Hi Jane

It was good to read the positive on the end of your post as I am negative and grade 3 too, but with no node involvement in my sample.

Everytime I go and see the consultant he reminds me negative, neative, negative…and I wonder when I leave why he keeps saying it?

Knowledge scares me witless too cherry red!

I choose to live one day at a time. Worrying is a waste of a day :sunglasses: OF course I have my moments!


Esther Esther

OOOoooooo I didn’t read this one before I posted, thanks for sharing, I love good news stories. Wonderful!


Sounds good to me! Nice one Esther!