Relapsed Breast Cancer Treatment

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Distant (or Metastatic) Recurrence
Because distant recurrence of breast cancer only occurs when tumor cells have traveled throughout the body, we understand that we need to treat the whole body. Thus, treatment of distant or metastatic recurrence typically involves some form of systemic hormonal or chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, with the treatments we have at this time we are not able to cure patients with distant or metastatic recurrence, i.e., when breast cancer has spread to other organs. However, some patients can live a long time with breast cancer.

The goals of treatment for distant or metastatic recurrence is
to keep the cancer under control as long it is possible,
     prevent complications related to breast cancer, and
         maintain the highest quality of life for each and every patient.
  • We believe that individualized treatment strategies based upon patient's preferences, the biology of their tumor, their history of prior treatments, and patient's other health conditions provides the best means to obtain the goal of treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
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  • Tumors can become resistant to individual treatments over time. This requires a carefully designed strategy to employ available therapies most effectively and early access to new therapies in order to meet the goal of treatment for distant or metastatic recurrence.

Physicians and Scientists at UC Irvine are working to develop new therapies to improve our ability to treat patients with distant or metastatic recurrence and to improve their quality of life. For example, Dr. Homayoon Sanati is conducting clinical studies of new hormonal therapies based upon groundbreaking work performed by Dr. Eva Lee at UC Irvine. Additionally, our physicians are evaluating combinations of standard chemotherapy with targeted therapies that disrupt growth pathways used by tumors.

For information on the other cutting edge therapies being developed at UC Irvine, please see our Research section.

>> See also "Local-Regional Recurrence"