Risk of asynchronous contralateral breast cancer: multiple approaches for a complex issue
In 2013, an estimated 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the US (1). In the past few decades, breast cancer survival has increased significantly, with about 95% of patients still alive 5 years after diagnosis, and 77% alive after 15 years (1). This is due to the development of more sensitive screening methods that detect cancer early as well as improved treatment regimens. In 2012, it is estimated that about 2.9 million women were currently alive that had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer (2). An important health issue for these women involves the risk of being diagnosed with a second cancer. The second cancer could be a recurrence of the initial cancer in the same breast (ipsilateral recurrence), a new cancer in the same breast (ipsilateral second primary cancer) or a new cancer in contralateral breast [asynchronous contralateral breast cancer (CBC)]. CBC accounts for about 50% of all secondary cancers diagnosed among patients with primary breast cancer (3).