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Lumpectomies And Radiation Beat Out Mastectomies In Study
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One of the most disconcerting issues for the estimated 250,000 American women who are diagnosed with breast cancer annually to face down is the potential of undergoing a mastectomy. While this surgery can prove to be a lifesaver, it is highly invasive, can lower quality of life and may create psychological scarring to go along with the physical. Researchers are finding that this radical treatment may not always be the best option for breast cancer patients. In fact, lumpectomies coupled with radiotherapy have shown a higher survival rate than mastectomies alone.
That is the finding of a recent retrospective study that took a deep dive into the cases of some 37,000 women in the Netherlands. Researchers there found that when medically indicated women who underwent a lumpectomy followed up by radiotherapy had much more promising results than those who had a mastectomy alone. The 10-year survival rate of women who had the breast-sparing procedure, in fact, was higher.
The study group involved about 58.4 percent of the group undergoing what is known as breast-conserving therapy. The rest received mastectomies. At the 10-year mark, the survival rate for those who received BCT and radiotherapy was 76.8 percent versus the 59.7 percent rate found in the mastectomy alone group.
While mastectomies and prophylactic double mastectomies are still commonly recommended and/or pursued by women, researchers say the combination of a lumpectomy and radiation is one to seriously consider. When tumors are small and it is medically advisable, it may be possible to preserve a woman’s appearance while also successfully battling the cancer, as the study findings show. The survival rate in the BCT group was, after all, significantly higher.
Breast cancer is a concern for all women and the disease can technically strike men and does in a small number of cases each year. Women will find it is recommended that they undergo annual health exams that include breast examinations starting in their younger years. Mammograms are added into the mix as a screening tool as women age or if risk factors for breast cancer are especially high.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer should carefully discuss all treatment options with their healthcare providers. While a lumpectomy and radiation may not be recommended in all cases, studies are supporting the use of this BCT combination. The best recommendation for treatments, however, will depend on personal case information related to tumor size, cancer aggressiveness and stage of the disease. When feasible, however, BCT might be a better choice for women over the long run, research is finding.
Lewisville/Flower Mound Oncology Group, a division of Choice Cancer Care – is an independently owned and operated oncology practice that is completely focused on unique, comprehensive patient care.
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