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Breast Cancer Prevention Surgeries Under Scrutiny

Thousands of women undergo surgeries every year after an early breast cancer diagnosis. But could these treatments be unnecessary?

A new study from Canada found no difference in death outcomes between women who underwent a lumpectomy (tumor removal) or a mastectomy (breast removal) after an early breast cancer diagnosis and women who did not undergo treatment.

In this 20-year study from Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, 100,000 women were followed after a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

"What is important to note about this study is that it seems to validate our clinical suspicion that not all DCIS behaves in the same manner," said Roger A. Smith, MD, a general surgeon with Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, TX, in an interview with dailyRx News.

However, Dr. Smith said, "Until we know more about the most aggressive forms for DCIS (those most likely to evolve into invasive cancers), then we must continue to follow the current treatment guidelines, which in most cases involve surgical excision with or sometimes without radiotherapy."

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