Rates of Breast-Conserving Therapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer Have Increased, Study Finds

“The number of women in the US undergoing breast-conserving therapy following a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer has risen during the past 2 decades, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery, though the authors reveal there are still barriers preventing women from receiving the treatment.

“After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, estimated to affect around 1 in 8 at some point in their lives.

“The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo some form of surgery, particularly if the cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. The surgical options available include mastectomy and breast-conserving therapy (BCT), or lumpectomy.

“While mastectomy involves full or partial removal of the breast tissue, BCT involves only the removal of the part of the breast containing the cancer.

“There are pros and cons with each procedure. With a mastectomy, a woman may lose an entire breast, while women who undergo BCT may be able to retain the majority of their breast tissue – making it a preferable option for many. However, women who have BCT often need to undergo radiation therapy for around 5-6 weeks following the surgery to ensure any remaining cancer cells are destroyed.”