Partial breast cancer op warning
Jul 13 2012
Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer should be warned that 20% of patients who choose to only have part of the breast removed are likely to need a second operation, scientists have said.
Researchers made the suggestion after they found that one in five English women who underwent breast conserving surgery needed further treatment.
There are 45,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in England. Of these, 58% chose to have part of the breast removed - breast conserving surgery - rather than a mastectomy which sees the whole breast removed.
When combined with radiotherapy, breast conserving surgery produces similar survival rates to those achieved with mastectomy alone. But because some tumours are difficult to detect, breast conserving surgery may result in their inadequate removal and lead to another operation.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, examined the re-operation rates of 55,297 women who had primary breast conserving surgery in 156 NHS trusts in England between April 2005 and March 2008.
Of these women, 11,032 needed a second operation within three months. Among women who had breast conserving surgery as a re-operation, one in seven needed further surgery, researchers found. More than 80% of the the 55,000 women were suffering from isolated invasive cancer, 12% had isolated carcinoma in-situ - or pre-cancerous disease - and 6% had both invasive and in-situ disease.
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