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Lumpectomy instead of mastectomy.

Lumpectomy Instead of Mastectomy

In an eight-year follow-up of 1,843 women treated for early breast cancer, investigators found that survival among women who had only the cancerous lump removed was the same as that among women who had their entire breast removed.

In the study, sponsored by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the investigators compared the outcomes of the women, who had stage I or II breast cancer and as treatment had had either a total mastectomy (removal of the breast) or the less disfiguring lumpectomy, which involves removing the tumor only and leaving the rest of the breast intact. (Stages I and II involve tumors measuring 4 cm in diameter or less, which have not spread to other parts of the body.)

The investigators found that eight years after treatment, 71% of the women in both treatment groups were alive. Moreover, rates of survival without any recurrence or spread of the disease were similar. They also found that among the women who had a lumpectomy, subsequent radiation treatment of the breast decreased the likelihood that the tumor would recur: During eight years, breast tumors reappeared in nearly 40% of the women who were not treated with radiation, as opposed to only about 10% of the women who were. These observations supported what the researchers found three years ago, when they published the results of a five-year follow-up of the same women. "The results continue to support the efficacy of breast conservation in the management of primary breast cancer." they wrote. Their results, they added, continue to show that a lumpectomy, followed by radiation to the breast - and the administration of anticancer drugs to women with spread to the lymph nodes - is "appropriate therapy" for women with stage I or II breast cancer, as long as when the tumor is removed, it is completely surrounded by a border of normal tissue.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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