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Reducing Breast Cancer Recurrence


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Breast cancer recurrence

Approximately 10% of women may experience breast cancer recurrence even after completing their treatment programs.

Are you still at risk?

The risk for each individual will vary.

It may depend on age and family history, tumor size or grade, hormone receptor and HER2/neu status, and lymph node involvement.

Patients should discuss their individual risk with their physicians.

Women who changed the odds with green tea:


breast cancer recurrence

Now there is research on women who changed their odds of breast cancer recurrence just by changing their lifestyle habits.

  • 57% lower risk of recurrence for Stage I breast cancer patients.

    A Japanese study followed 1160 women for up to 8 years.

    They found that women who had been treated for Stage I breast cancer had 57% less risk of recurrence when they drank three cups of green tea daily (Inoue M et al, Regular consumption of green tea and the risk of breast cancer recurrence: follow-up study from the Hospital-based Epidemiologic Research Program at Aichi Cancer Center (HERPACC), Japan, Cancer Letters, June 2001, p 175-182).

  • 44% lower risk of recurrence for Stage I and II breast cancer patients.

    Another Japanese study followed 472 women for 7 years and found 44% less risk of recurrence for Stage I and II cancer combined when the women drank five cups green tea daily (Nakachi K et al, Influence of Drinking Green Tea on Breast Cancer Malignancy among Japanese Patients, Jpn. Journal Cancer Research, p 254–261, March 1998).

  • 44% lower risk of recurrence for Stage I and II patients, confirmed by multiple studies.

A review of several green tea studies came up with similar results: at least 44% less recurrence for Stage I and Stage II breast cancer on the average for women who drank five cups green tea daily.

Statistically significant benefits were not detected with green tea for Stage III and Stage IV patients (Seely D et al, The Effects of Green Tea Consumption on Incidence of Breast Cancer and Recurrence of Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Integrative Cancer Therapies, p 144-155, June 2005)

Early detection saves lives

The American Cancer Society shows the 5-year breast cancer survival rate after successful treatment at

98%-100% survival rate for Stage 1 (stage I) breast cancer.

88%-92% survival rate for Stage 2 (stage IIa, stage IIb) breast cancer

49%-67% survival rate for Stage 3 (stage IIIa, stage IIIb) breast cancer

and, only 16%-20% survival rate for Stage 4 (stage IV) breast cancer.

Please see your health care provider for early detection procedures.

Women who changed the odds with diet and exercise:

A California study found the following:

  • no change for women who only added daily exercise
  • no change for women who only improved their diet with fruit and vegetables
  • But a 50% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence for women who did both--they exercised daily and added five servings of fruits and vegetables to their daily diet.

This study followed 1490 women for up to 11 years and found no improvements for women who exercised daily. They also found no detectable improvements for women who improved their diet by eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Then they checked the women who did both.

Women who exercised at least 30 minutes a day for six days a week, and ate five servings of fruits and vegetables daily showed up to 50% less cancer recurrence (Pierce J et al, Greater Survival After Breast Cancer in Physically Active Women With High Vegetable-Fruit Intake Regardless of Obesity, Journal of Clinical Oncology, p 2345-2351 June 2007)



Healthy habits are vital

Whether you are trying to reduce breast cancer recurrence, increase your breast cancer survival rate, or prevent breast cancer, healthy habits can help.

Many studies show the value of adding daily exercise, but now, from the California study above, we know it’s more effective when you also maintain your five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Daily green tea makes a lot of common sense, especially since green tea shows strong positive effects in so many areas of your health.

Quitting smoking, managing your weight, restricting alcohol, and a positive attitude are basics, of course.

Also make sure you take advantage of recommended examinations for early detection and breast cancer recurrence monitoring.


More breast cancer information

Research shows green tea may help breast cancer survival rate

Research shows green tea may help lower risk of ovarian cancer

Breast cancer recurrence news and updates

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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.

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