Reducing the burden of breast
Breast conserving surgery - How much is enough?
Many women with breast cancer have breast conserving surgery, where the tumour and surrounding tissue is removed, rather than the whole breast. Breast conserving surgery allows a much faster recovery, compared to mastectomy, and besides the advantages of breast preservation, survival outcomes are equivalent. Unfortunately, using current guidelines,approximately one in five women who have breast conserving surgery need a second surgery because some cancer cells come up to or close to the margin of tissue excised. This is traumatic for the women concerned, and costly to the health service, and uncertainty exists whether all these women really need further surgery to reduce risk of local recurrence
“Breast conserving surgery is the best option for most women with early breast cancer, but controversy exists on this issue of margins, and it has never previously been looked at in as large a group of women with the degree of detail contained in the NZ Regional Registers,” says A/Prof. Dr Campbell.
A/Prof. Ian Campbell is going to examine data from the Patient Register to determine how much breast tissue surrounding a tumour needs to be removed during surgery to minimise risk of the cancer coming back, and also avoid unnecessary extra operations.
“Thanks to the Patient Register, we hope to establish guidelines that all surgeons can follow, so that as few women as is appropriate have to go back for a second surgery.”
A team of Waikato researchers will be working with colleagues from the University of Auckland, Middlemore and Christchurch Hospitals on the “margins project”.
We acknowledge the Health Research Council & Breast Cancer Foundation for their funding of this project.
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