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Surviving Surgery After Early Stage Breast Cancer

Among patients with early stage breast cancer, breast-conserving therapy with radiation appears to be associated with a better disease-specific survival (DSS) when compared with mastectomy. A large investigation revealed that DSS results were greater among women aged 50 and older with hormone receptor (HR)-positive disease than for younger women with HR-negative disease. Abstract: Cancer, April 1,...

Immediate Reconstruction After Mastectomy

The rate of immediate reconstruction (IR) use for women with breast cancer who undergo mastectomy appears to have increased significantly between 2000 and 2010, according to a large analysis. Several modifiable factors strongly predicted IR use, including insurance status, hospital size, hospital location, and physician volume. Abstract: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, November...

When to Use Radiotherapy After Mastectomy

Post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) to the chest wall and supraclavicular fossa is beneficial in breast cancer patients with four or more positive nodes, according to findings from the International Breast Cancer Study Group. The group also recommends that chest wall PMRT be considered in patients with one to three nodes who are aged 40 or younger and who have zero to seven uninvolved nodes or vascular invasion. Abstract: Annals of Oncology, November...

Important Decisions in Breast Cancer Surgery

According to the American Cancer Society, 209,060 Americans were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and 40,230 died from the disease. When patients are diagnosed with breast cancer, they often feel well enough to continue living their life as they were previously. The treatment options for breast cancer, however, have potentially significant effects on quality of life and life expectancy. Researchers from the Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team (CanSORT), a multidisciplinary collaboration among five centers across the country, surveyed 1,780 breast cancer patients and their surgeons in the Los Angeles and Detroit metropolitan areas about treatment choices. The focus of this research was to determine if where patients go for care can impact key surgical choices that are related to local therapy, specifically mastectomy (with or without reconstruction) versus lumpectomy. Results of the study were published in the October 2010 issue of Medical Care. Consistent, Standardized Care Previous research has shown that surgical treatment of breast cancer depends largely on surgeon recommendations and patient preferences. A major finding in the study published in Medical Care was that the use of mastectomy over breastconserving lumpectomy varied little by surgeon and was based on patients’ clinical picture and characteristics rather than on practice characteristics (Table). “Primarily, women who were not eligible for lumpectomy or who preferred mastectomy received the more aggressive surgery,” says Steven J. Katz, MD, MPH, who was the study’s lead investigator. “This supports previous research by the CanSORT team, showing that surgeons generally are consistent with their approach when discussing treatment options, contraindications, and recommendations.” Where a woman goes for breast cancer treatment can vary widely, ranging from small private...
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