Losing breast not always best for cancer patients

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - New research suggests some breast cancer patients, including those with a genetic predisposition to the
disease, may do OK with treatments that stop short of a mastectomy.

That conclusion comes from a small study focused on women with a
certain type of gene mutation (BRCA). While it found that patients had a two to four times greater risk of their cancer recurring if they only had the cancerous lump removed instead of the whole breast, it also found that, after 15 years, the survival rates appeared similar.

Other large studies have established that lumpectomies followed by radiation may be as effective as a mastectomy for women with early stages of breast cancers.

One of the doctors involved in the latest study says it shows that breast conservation with chemotherapy and hormonal therapy "is a very reasonable alternative."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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