Risk for breast cancer's return can linger for decades
Women treated for early stage breast cancer still face a substantial risk of recurrence up to 20 years later, a large, new study shows.
Cancer experts say the findings should help inform women's treatment decisions.
Specifically, the researchers followed women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, which means the hormone helps fuel the cancer's growth. Standard treatment includes hormonal therapy -- with drugs that block estrogen's effects -- to help prevent a return of the cancer.
All of the women in the study, nearly 63,000, were scheduled to receive the typical five years of hormonal therapy.
Researchers found that while the women remained cancer-free for those five years, the risk for recurrence over the next 15 years was still significant.
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Written by AMY NORTON for www.cbsnews.com