Women who undergo surgery for breast cancer generally need to have another operation on their breast. If a breast cancer patient gets a part of her breast removed, but not the whole breast, she is quite likely to need another operation. This was the finding of a study on breast cancer treatment conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Findings of the research on breast cancer surgery
- The women who had undergone the surgery were aged more than 16. They had undergone breast-conserving surgery rather than mastectomy.
- Although this surgery was found to be as effective as mastectomy, the seeds of cancerous growth remain intact because it is not seen as a lump. Thus, the women end up having another operation.
- The additional operation that women need to undergo hampers their personal and professional life, as it causes great emotional distress in them. The result is that eventually they need to undergo breast reconstructive surgery.
- The research looked at more than 55 thousand women who had breast cancer. Out of these, 82 per cent had invasive cancer, 12 per cent had pre-cancerous conditions while 6 per cent showed both these conditions. Out of these, women with pre-cancerous disease were most likely to have another operation.
- Around 40 per cent of women who had a reoperation underwent mastectomy.
- Results suggest that the older the women were, the more likely they were to have a reoperation. Women from deprived areas were also found to be more likely to have a reoperation.
According to Ramsey Cutes of Cancer Research UK, a breast cancer surgeon in the University of Southampton, patients are always informed about the possibility of further operations before performing the surgery. This is because the patients need to be fully aware of the pros and cons of the surgery. The aim of these additional operations after breast-conserving surgery is lessen the chances of the cancer’s recurrence, so that the patient has a better chance of survival from the disease.
The incidence of breast cancer recurrence is also reduced by therapies such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr Cutes said that it is important that high risk of breast cancer recurrence is identified better so that only those patients are selected for reoperation that truly stand to benefit from it.
Some risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Gender – Women are at an increased risk of breast cancer may sound obvious, but you should be aware of the fact that this form of cancer can occur in men too. Of course, it is very rare in men.
- Age – The risk of breast cancer increases with age.
- Genetic factors – In five to ten per cent of the cases, breast cancer is hereditary.
Read more articles on Breast Cancer