In node-negative bc, 60% of the time all the cancer is removed by surgery. There just isn't any way to know which women are in that 60%, so all women are treated as though they are in the 40% who aren't 'cured' by surgery alone. When there are positive nodes, the 'cured' percentage is assumed to be lower, but this has not been studied scientfically so there are no statistics to go with this situation. I'm sure you will hear from women on this board soon from each of the categories--some with recurrences and some without. It's been said quite often on this board--it's a crap shoot.