Many women with breast cancer have all of their breast removed unnecessarily, according to Dr Robert Kuske from Arizona Oncology Services in the US. He says women are put off less radical breast-conserving surgery by the long and extensive radiation courses that are also required. According to Dr Kuske, a radiation technique called brachytherapy would eliminate these barriers. He spoke at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Mastectomy involves removing the whole breast that contains the cancer. In breast conserving surgery, also known as lumpectomy, the cancerous tissue and some of the surrounding tissue is removed, leaving the rest of the breast intact. Several courses of radiation therapy, spread over weeks, are then given to kill any remaining cancer in the hope that it will not return. According to Dr Kuske, 80% of women with breast cancer would be candidates for breast conserving surgery. Previous research, involving 4,700 women with early breast cancer in 37 countries, found Britain has one of the lowest mastectomy rates. Overall, just over half the patients underwent a mastectomy, while the rest had some form of breast conserving surgery, the specialists from the University of Gdansk found.
But Dr Kuske says too many women are having mastectomies. "I believe women choose mastectomy because of the inconvenience of six to seven weeks of conventional radiotherapy and the fear of irradiation to uninvolved breast, skin, ribs, lung and the heart," he said. From BBC....Posted by hanxx028 at July 26, 2004 10:40 AM