Women who find breast cancers early might have a much better chance of surviving the cancer if they have a lumpectomy performed plus radiation therapy than if a mastectomy is performed, according to a recent analysis that will be published this week in the Cancer online journal.
Although the reason is not determined as to why those having a mastectomy are at a higher risk of death, researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute suggest their research provides confidence in how effective breast conserving treatments have become even for women who suffer from early, aggressive forms of breast cancer.
This news is important since over the last 10 years the tendency has increased for woman to have a mastectomy when diagnosed with breast cancer, even if the cancers are small and diagnosed early.
The research suggests that certain groups of women, for instance younger and healthier, have started to believe their chances of survival following the cancer is higher if they have a mastectomy than if a lumpectomy was performed.
For the study, the researchers examined information taken from more than 112,000 cases of breast cancers that was stage I or II and diagnosed in women living in California from 1990 to 2004. All of the women either had a lumpectomy or mastectomy and had a follow up during 2009.
Age and types of cancer were used to form groups to look for patterns between survival rates and types of treatment. The results of the research showed that in the 36 months following surgery women who opted for a mastectomy were more apt to die from a type of heart disease or other disease when compared to those women who only had a lumpectomy.
Over the entire study period, the women who opted for the lumpectomy and radiation were more apt to survive their cancer than women who opted to have a mastectomy and that included any cancer type or age.