Changing Standards for Early Breast Cancer Treatments

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When women find out that they have early-stage invasive breast cancer, they are often given a choice between two types of surgery: lumpectomy and mastectomy. While lumpectomy involves the removal of the tumor and some of the surrounding healthy tissue, mastectomy is the removal of one or both breasts. This month, a study published in JAMA Oncology indicates that more women are choosing breast-conserving lumpectomy for their surgery, and that this choice has positive health outcomes.

The Debate Over Lumpectomy Margins

In the past, women often chose bilateral mastectomy over lumpectomy because they were concerned about the possibility of a second surgery. Up until 2014, there was no consensus within the medical community about the margin of healthy tissue around the tumor that should be removed, so many doctors recommended a second surgery if the margin was too small, in order to guard against any potential future tumor growth. As a result, between 23 and 38 percent of patients who chose a lumpectomy ended up returning for a second lumpectomy or a mastectomy anyway. Then, in 2014, the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the Society of Surgical Oncology conducted a literature review and found that a minimal margin of healthy tissue removal around a tumor put women at no greater risk for a future tumor than a larger margin.

As a result of their findings, the frequency with which surgeons have been recommending second lumpectomy surgeries for State 1 and Stage 2 breast cancer decreased by 16 percent between 2013 and 2015. In response, more women have been choosing lumpectomy, with the number increasing by 13 percent between 2013 and 2015. And multiple studies have shown similar survival rates for early stage breast cancer patients, whether they choose lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Actionable Results for Patients

The scientific research on the relative effectiveness of lumpectomy and mastectomy is making it easier for women with early-stage invasive breast cancer to make informed choices about which surgery is right for their personal and medical situation. In most cases, a breast-conserving lumpectomy is just as safe and effective as the removal of both breasts, so women can make a choice based on their needs and desires.

However, it is important to note that these findings only apply to women with early-stage invasive breast cancer. Once the cancer progresses to later stages, you are left with far fewer choices in terms of surgery, and your chance of survival declines significantly. Therefore, it is essential to get regular breast cancer screenings so that invasive breast cancer is found early. One of the best technologies for breast cancer screening is breast thermography. This non-invasive method uses heat sensing technology to identify breast tumors, and it can detect cancer earlier than a traditional mammogram. Plus, it involves no radiation exposure, is entirely painless, and only takes about 15 minutes.

Since 1 out of every 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her life, regular screenings are a must. If you find a tumor early, you will still have the opportunity to choose between lumpectomy and mastectomy. Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers breast thermography screenings that can save lives. Contact us today for more information!

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