Breast Cancer: Follow-Up Surgeries Common After Breast-Conserving Procedure
Nearly one in four women with breast cancer who undergo breast-conserving surgery are subjected to a second procedure to remove more tissue, despite the fact that some second surgeries may be unnecessary, according to a new study.
Researchers also found the rate of follow-up surgery varied widely from surgeon to surgeon.
WebMD reports that 3 out of 4 women with breast cancer choose to undergo breast-conserving surgery, in which surgeons remove only the cancerous cells and a few healthy ones nearby. Doctors opt for a follow-up procedure when they suspect that some cancerous cells have been left behind.
The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, probed follow-up surgery—or re-excision—rates at four research sites in the United States. 2,026 breast cancer patients initially undergoing breast-conserving surgery were included in the data.
23 percent of the patients included in the study underwent re-excision, after their doctors decided from post-operative reports that some cancerous cells were left behind in the first operation. Between eight and nine percent of the study cases ended up having a total mastectomy.
In addition, re-excision rates ranged up to 70 percent between surgeons, the researchers said.