If your breast cancer has come back in the chest or breast area, or in the skin near the original site or scar (local recurrence), treatment will depend on a number of factors, including what treatments you’ve previously had.   


If you had breast-conserving surgery (also known as wide local excision or lumpectomy) then you will usually be offered a mastectomy. For some people it may be possible to repeat the wide local excision.

If you previously had a mastectomy, surgery may be possible to remove the affected areas.

Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.


If surgery isn’t possible, radiotherapy may be offered. Radiotherapy is usually only an option if you haven’t previously had radiotherapy in the same area.

The way radiotherapy is given for a recurrence is similar to how it’s given in those newly diagnosed. 

Hormone therapy

If the cancer is oestrogen receptor positive then you may be offered hormone therapy.

Which treatment you are offered depends on whether you have gone through the menopause and previous or current hormone therapy.


It is not clear how much benefit chemotherapy will be to you if you have a local recurrence, but it might be offered in some cases. If you have previously had chemotherapy then different chemotherapy drugs may be used.

Targeted therapy

If your cancer is HER2 positive, you may be offered a targeted therapy like trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Last reviewed: July 2016
Next planned review begins shortly

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