5 Ways To Stop Breast Cancer From Coming Back

Breast cancer can come back at anytime

Surviving breast cancer is one thing. Recurrence, however, is a totally different ballgame. It’s something no one wants to face, but the chances are high during the first 2 years after treatment. Is it possible to stop a ruthless return?

Fortunately, it is. The risk of recurrence is never zero, but certain habits will keep it at bay. When breast cancer comes back, it may be in the same or opposite breast. Other times, it might even show up in a different part of the body. This can take months or years.1 2


Of all the breast cancer types, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) breast cancers are most likely to recur. But why risk it? Regardless of the type of cancer you have, avoiding a recurrence is always worth it. Here are the things you can do to prevent breast cancer recurrence.3

1. Get Moving

Regular exercise will prevent the cancer recurrence


Exercising is a big part of breast cancer prevention. Staying active lowers the risk of recurrence by 12%, but it’ll also benefit survivors.4

In a 2014 study in the journal Cancer, researchers shared that exercise after breast cancer improved survival. Unfortunately, most women actually exercise less after diagnosis. Many don’t even meet the national recommendations.5 6


Stop a comeback by exercising at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. It’ll decrease the risk of recurrence and death from all causes.7

2. Eat Well

Eating a well-balanced diet will make sure cancer does not recur


Food helps your body thrive – and heal. To avoid recurrence, use it as a tool. Enjoy all the good stuff that helps prevent breast cancer in the first place. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed and fast food, and choose homemade whenever possible.8

Be mindful of high-calorie, high-fat foods. Both increase the risk of recurrence and shortened survival. At the same time, make sure you eat enough calories, especially if you’re at risk for extreme weight loss. Staying nourished is key.9


3. Drink Green Tea

Drinking green tea has been shown to reduce a cancer recurrence

Green tea has always been pegged as an anti-cancer drink. It’s packed with epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a type of polyphenol. As an antioxidant, EGCG may stop cell damage that’s responsible for cancer.


A 2001 Japanese study found that it may also prevent recurrence. After 3 cups a day, researchers saw the risk drop by 31% and that is a great result. But before you make jugs of green tea, know that it has some caffeine, too. Moderate your intake if you’re sensitive to caffeine.10 11

4. Limit (Or Avoid) Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can make cancer come back with a bang


Of all the alcohol-related cancers, breast cancer makes up 60% of the total. Alcohol simply damages the DNA and makes it easy for cancer to form. In fact, women who drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day are 1.5 times more likely to get breast cancer.12 13

It’s the same deal for survivors. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 3 to 4 drinks a week increase recurrence by 1.3 times. The general recommendation is 1 drink a day for women without breast cancer. When you’re at risk for recurrence, consider avoiding alcohol altogether.14

5. Avoid Smoking

Smoking can reduce the risk of cancer coming back by a great extent

From weight gain to mortality, smoking does a number on the body. Plus, cigarette smoke contains at least 20 carcinogens! The connection between breast cancer and smoking is no surprise.15

For breast cancer survivors, the chances are even higher. Smoking increases recurrence risk by 6.7 times compared to those who never smoke. Needless to say, now is the prime time to quit.16

Do these tips sound familiar? Preventing breast cancer calls for the same approach. With the risk of recurrence, it’s even more vital to make a change.