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Mastectomy Not First Choice for Most Breast Cancer Patients
Date:10/13/2009

Three-fourths opt for breast-conserving treatments instead, study finds,,

TUESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to common belief, most women diagnosed with breast cancer are not turning to mastectomy as their first choice for treatment but are first trying more conservative approaches, such as lumpectomy, a new survey has found.

The survey, reported in the Oct. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that U.S. doctors are doing a good job of presenting newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with a range of treatment options.

The researchers found that those women who did opt for mastectomy instead of breast-conserving surgery often did so because of their own preference and probably because of the perception that mastectomy offered better odds against the cancer coming back.

However, "the chances of surviving breast cancer are the same whether you have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy," noted the study's lead author, Dr. Monica Morrow, chief of the breast service and chairwoman of clinical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

"There's an overwhelming feeling that somehow 'bigger' surgery is better surgery," Morrow said. "It's something I hear over and over again: 'I want to be safe so I will have the mastectomy.' "

The researchers wrote in their report that they undertook the study because there's been a perception that women have been given mastectomies unnecessarily, when breast-conserving surgery might have been an option.

The team reviewed data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries in Los Angeles and Detroit. They included data on 1,984 women with intraductal, stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer who completed a telephone survey about their experience with cancer surgery.

The women, 20 to 79 years old, included 953 women who listed their race
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