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Breast Conserving Surgery May Be A Viable Option

For thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year, treatment recommendations may include a mastectomy or a double mastectomy. This aggressive form of treatment, however, may not be the only course of action available for some women. Researchers are finding that the breast conserving option of a lumpectomy does not hamper long-term survival rates when it is coupled with the use of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

While mastectomies have long been the gold standard in treatment of breast cancer, this option does have its potential impacts on women. Not only is a mastectomy more involved and demands more recovery time, it can also have impacts on women psychologically. Reconstructive surgery is also often required following the complete removal of a breast or breasts.

To find out if the breast-sparing lumpectomy had positive or negative impacts on survival rates, researchers in several different countries have been tracking outcomes. One study of nearly 40,000 women found that in some cases a lumpectomy coupled with radiation produced significantly positive long-term results. Another study looked at the lumpectomy and chemotherapy survival rates. The authors of the second study also found that lumpectomy coupled with chemotherapy did not compromise disease-free survival rates or long-term outlook.

An estimated 250,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The best course of treatment will depend greatly on the stage the disease is detected and the aggressiveness of the cancer found. Women may find that lumpectomies do offer them an alternative to more aggressive total removal of the breast.

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are urged to speak openly with their healthcare providers about all treatment options. Lumpectomies may not be recommended in all cases. When they are a possibility, research is supporting the option when it is coupled with chemotherapy, radiation or both. All women should understand their personal risks for breast cancer and should work with their doctors to make sure early screening is a part of the annual routine. Early detection of this disease can often lead to highly successful treatments.

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