Many women opt to get a single or double mastectomy, even if their early-stage cancer is treatable with a more simple lumpectomy, to limit the chance of the tumor returning or spreading to other parts of the body. However, new research shows that a lumpectomy procedure, a type of breast conservation therapy (BCT), is a safe option for those with early stage breast cancer. In fact, it may be an even safer option than a single or double mastectomy, both in terms of potential surgery complications and in terms of the chance of cancer recurrence.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Utah. Researchers studied more than 132,000 patients and found that those who underwent BCT had a higher survival rate when compared to the patients who had a mastectomy alone or a mastectomy with radiation. The BCT survival rate was 94 percent after 10 years, compared to a 90 percent survival rate in mastectomy patients.
Lumpectomy surgery removes only the tumor and the surrounding tissue. Most breast cancer patients receive five to seven weeks radiation therapy after the breast conservation procedure is completed. This is a much less extensive process than most mastectomies generally are. However, breast cancer treatment differs for each patient. Your doctor can tell you more about whether a lumpectomy might be right for you and your cancer.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?