A new study out this week looked at the overall success rates of partial mastectomy or lumpectomy surgeries and found that one in five women with breast cancer who undergo one of these partial breast cancer surgeries ends up having another operation within a few months.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The team evaluated records from 55,297 women with breast cancer in England.
All of the women in the study underwent a breast-conserving surgery that removed only a portion of breast tissue, rather than a mastectomy. They then looked at treatment procedures carried out in the three months following the lumpectomy operation.
After taking into account tumor type, age, economic status, and other health problems, the researchers concluded that 20 percent of women who undergo a partial mastectomy will need additional surgeries down the road. The re-operation rate increased to one in three for women whose early-stage cancer was categorized as "difficult to detect."
When combined with radiotherapy, doctors have promoted the partial mastectomy as an effective and less invasive means of removing breast cancer tissue than a complete mastectomy. However, because some breast cancer tumors are difficult to detect, partial breast conserving-surgery may not remove the cancer completely, resulting in another operation that stresses the health, finances, and emotions of the patients involved.
The study's authors recommend that women who opt for breast-conserving surgery should be warned about the potential need for future surgery.
Makes sense to me.