Breast cancer can lay dormant for 15 years, researchers find

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The results showed that they get rid of cancer after five years of treatment, by the next fifteen years a very few number of women had spread their cancer in all over their body while some women diagnosed with cancer after 20 years.

Every patient received treatments such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors which block the effects of oestrogen or shut off the hormone's supply.

After five years of therapy, the cancer had gone but data found recurrences up to 15 years later - 20 years after initial diagnosis.

It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer, making it the most common cancer among women.

The figures, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that out of the women included in the study, 11,000 had their cancer come back in another part of the body such as the bone, liver and lung in the 15 years after stopping treatment. But, nevertheless, women and their doctors should be aware of the ongoing risk and consider whether to carry on with endocrine treatment beyond 5 years.

Women with small, low-grade cancers and no spread to the lymph nodes had a much lower 10% risk of cancer spread over that time.

Response: The risk is likely to be somewhat lower now than it was when the women in our study were diagnosed - up to 40 years ago - as treatments such as chemotherapy have improved since then.

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Research suggests ten years of hormone therapy may be more effective at preventing recurrence and death.

This is a type fuelled by the hormone oestrogen which can stimulate cancer cells to grow and divide.

Side effects mimic menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness, and aromatase inhibitors can cause osteoporosis, joint pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Life-threatening side effects are rare with these therapies, but they can impact patients' quality of life.

It's important to point out that since this research began, new drugs are being used to treat breast cancer, and these work in a different way to tamoxifen.

"It's vital that work continues to better predict which cancers might return", he said.

Michelle Annet Sewraj, founder of Nation Builders said the event was held to empower, educate and inform women about breast cancer.

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