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Breast-Conserving Surgery Downside

Women who have undergone a mastectomy (removal of the breast) may still go through repeat mammograms and invasive procedures years subsequent to the said operation. This is the conclusion of a new study which basically outlines a possible downside of breast-conserving surgery for treating DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ).

Breast-conserving surgery, which involves the removal of the abnormal tissue and avoids mastectomy, is considered the most common treatment of DCIS, the earliest stage of breast cancer.

It was, however, found by the researchers that of the nearly 3,000 women who had the surgery, two-thirds ended up having at least one more invasive procedure over the next decade—usually a biopsy to eradicate abnormal tissue in the same breast.

Dr. Joshua Fenton, an assistant professor at the University of California, clarified that women who are deciding what kind of treatment they want to undergo for DCIS, “need to understand that many women will need additional surgery or invasive intervention after breast-conserving surgery.”

Nevertheless, study leader Dr. Larissa Nekhlyudov of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Vanguard Medical As-sociates in Boston, maintained that they do not suggest women to have mastectomy instead of breast-conserving surgery.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Nekhlyudov said women should at least be aware that breast-con-serving surgery can come with a long follow-up. “The good news is that the majority of these women will not have a (cancer) recurrence. But the work-ups for a possible recurrence are likely to continue for years,” she stressed.

Doctors Fenton and Nekhlyudov explained that women with DCIS, in order to avoid any more severe cases or circumstances, should discuss with their doctors the pros and cons of all treatment options.

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