When Cancer Comes Back: Cancer Recurrence

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What are the types of recurrence?

There are different types of cancer recurrence:

  • Local recurrence means that the cancer has come back in the same place it first started.
  • Regional recurrence means that the cancer has come back in the lymph nodes near the place it started.
  • Distant recurrence means the cancer has come back in another part of the body, some distance from where it started (often the lungs, liver, bone marrow, or brain).

If you have a cancer recurrence, your doctor can give you the best information about what type of recurrence you have and what it means to have that type. You will also want to find out your options for treatment and outlook (prognosis). See the section, “Treating recurrence.”


Last Medical Review: 05/13/2013
Last Revised: 06/19/2013