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Breast-Conserving Treatment of Breast Cancer

By Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN, FAAN
Randomized clinical trials have found similar survival rates for women who received breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy and those who had a mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer. To determine if these results are the same in the general population (community practice), researchers from Duke University conducted a large, population-based retrospective review of outcomes of women who received lumpectomies plus radiation and those who had a mastectomy.

Information was obtained regarding all women diagnosed in the state of California with stage I or II breast cancer between 1990 and 2004, who were treated with either breast-conserving treatment or mastectomy and followed through December 2009. Analyses were stratified by age group (under and over age 50) and hormone receptor (HR) status. A total of 112,154 women fulfilled eligibility criteria. Women who received the breast-conserving treatment (lumpectomy and radiation) had improved overall survival and disease free survival than those who had mastectomies. The disease free survival was greater among women age over age 50 with HR-positive disease. The researchers concluded that these data provide confidence that breast-conserving treatment remains an effective alternative to mastectomy for early stage disease regardless of age or HR status.

The study report is available at
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