Regional Recurrence Symptoms

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If breast cancer comes back regionally — in the lymph nodes in the armpit or collarbone near the area where the cancer was originally detected — you may have these symptoms:

  • a lump or swelling in the lymph nodes under your arm, above your collarbone, or near your breastbone
  • swelling in your arm on the same side where the breast cancer was first found
  • constant pain in your arm and shoulder
  • loss of feeling in your arm and shoulder
  • constant pain in your chest
  • problems swallowing

Tests to diagnose regional recurrence

Sometimes swollen lymph nodes are found by a mammogram. If you have an enlarged lymph node or any of the other symptoms of regional recurrence, your doctor will biopsy the lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has come back. Your doctor also may want you to have an ultrasound, an MRI, CT, or a PET scan.

To learn more about tests used to screen for recurrence, please visit the Breast Cancer Tests: Screening, Diagnosis, and Monitoring section.

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