Navigating Breast Cancer Post-Treatment: How Can I Know If My Cancer is Back?

Navigating Breast Cancer Post-Treatment: How Can I Know If My Cancer is Back?

Going through a health crisis can be traumatic, and breast cancer is no exception. More than  240,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year, accounting for about 30%  of all new female cancers. While screening can help to detect breast cancer earlier, when it’s more  likely to be responsive to treatment, the emotional toll of the diagnosis and the journey that follows  can be intense. Life after breast cancer can feel unsettling as a survivor navigates returning to a  normal routine after experiencing a life-altering event. It’s common for patients to experience  changes in their body image, relationships, and emotional health. Even with an effective treatment,  many women worry that their cancer may come back.  

Monitoring for Recurrence 

After surgery and other initial cancer treatments end, the oncology care team has several testing  options to see if there is any residual disease and monitor the patient to see if the cancer returns.  Some of the options typically recommended include a regular physical exam, a variety of imaging or  scanning tests, or biomarker testing.  

Recent advances in biomarker testing now allow oncologists to use blood tests to understand if a  surgery has removed all of the cancer, if the cancer is coming back, or if a treatment is effective.  One blood test is Guardant Reveal, which detects signals from fragments of cancer cells circulating  in the bloodstream. The test identifies remaining disease in patients with early-stage breast cancer  after initial treatment and monitors for recurrence in previously diagnosed patients. Results from the  blood test are available in two weeks, which is helpful when patients are waiting for answers.  

Betty, age 53, of Tennessee, recently found that having a Guardant Reveal test helped ease her  concerns about her cancer returning.  

“After being diagnosed with breast cancer, then undergoing aggressive chemotherapy, a double  mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery, I thought my cancer journey would get easier,” she says.  “But that wasn’t really the case. The constant fear and worry about whether my cancer was truly  gone or would come back one day has been a daily struggle for more than two years.”  

Because of her fears, Betty decided to take the Guardant Reveal test. It only requires a simple  blood draw to detect if her cancer is at high risk for returning, and the results come back in about  two weeks. “When my oncologist calls to tell me that cancer is not detected, I can breathe a little  easier and worry less about recurrence,” she explains. “On the flip side, if my test comes back with  a cancer signal detected, I know that my oncologist will move up my scans to try and find the 

cancer. This knowledge makes me feel less afraid, knowing we can catch recurrence early and do  something about it.”  

To learn more about Guardant Reveal, visit our website here

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