Sparing the Breast Doesn't Spoil Your Chances
WebMD News Archive
He tells WebMD that keeping track of what happens to these
patients a decade or more after their breast cancer is important because it
provides more proof that lumpectomy is safe.
This study adds to a large body of medical data showing that
lumpectomy is not associated with higher rates of death than mastectomy,
according to Stephen B. Edge, MD, who reviewed the study for WebMD.
"It's important that we continue to see what the
information from these trials shows," he tells WebMD. "More and more
people are alive and well many years after breast cancer, and it's important
for us to be able to tell them what the long-term outlook is."
Edge, who is chief of breast surgery at Roswell Park Cancer
Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., says the European study agrees with a large
American trial that included women with tumors as large as 4 cm who were
"Basically, people have been willing to do lumpectomies up
to 4-5 cm without much hesitation as long as the lesion is small enough in
relation to the size of the breast," he says. For example, a woman with a
large breast might be more of a candidate for lumpectomy to remove a larger
tumor than a smaller-breasted woman, in whom removal of a large amount of
tissue might leave a cosmetically unacceptable result. In addition to the
actual tumor, doctors also must remove tissue around the tumor that may contain
microscopic cancer cells, so the actual size of what needs to be removed can
But overall, Edge says the findings are encouraging for women
faced with a difficult decision. "This study further supports the statement
that if you are appropriately treated with lumpectomy, you are not in any way
jeopardizing your life by preserving your breast."
For more information from WebMD, visit our Disease and
Conditions Breast Cancer