Breast cancer patients fare better with surgery and radiation than mastectomies
Breast cancer patients treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation have a better chance of surviving the first 10 years after treatment than women who underwent a mastectomies, according to research done by the Comprehensive Cancer Center Netherlands, AD reports. The study, led by Sabine Siesling of the University of Twente, looked at 37 thousand women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer between 2000 and 2004 and their medical history in the following 10 years. A total of 76.8 percent of the women who were treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation were still alive 10 years later. Among women treated with mastectomies, 59.7 percent were still alive. According to the researchers, the higher survival rate may be attributed to the radiation treatment given to women after breast-conserving surgery, though more research is needed to prove this. Radiation treatment is not standard for mastectomy patients. In some cases it is the women themselves who chose a mastectomy, mostly because of the radiation treatment that goes with the breast-conserving surgery. "For example because their home situation does not allow it. Radiotherapy is quite stressful, it means for example that you have to go to the clinic everyday", Siesling explained to the newspaper. This is difficult when you have young children, or a taxing job. Radiation treatment also has side effects and is physically demanding.