In a nutshell
The authors aimed to determine whether anemia could negatively affect survival from breast cancer.
Anemia is described as a lack of hemoglobin; this is the iron found in our blood. Iron in the blood has several functions, including the transport of oxygen. Anemia can be commonly associated with cancer and is thought to negatively affect prognosis (outlook).
Previous studies have evaluated the overall risk of anemia on survival. It is not understood, however, whether anemia can impact survival following surgery.
Methods & findings
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of anemia on overall survival rates from breast cancer. Anemia was evaluated in 2123 women who were due to undergo breast surgery. These surgeries included mastectomies (removal of the entire breast) or breast-conserving surgery (removal of the breast cancer only). Anemia was defined as having a blood hemoglobin concentration lower than 12 g/dL.
Out of all the patients, 25% were considered amemic. Of these, 18% were stage I, 24% were stage II and 37% were stage III breast cancer.
After 5 years, cancer recurrence was observed in 7.3% of the anemic patients compared to only 1.4% of the non-anemic patients. 12.1% of anemic patients had their cancer spread to the lymph nodes, compared to 2.5% of non-anemic patients. 26.7% of anemic patients developed a distant metastasis (the cancer had spread to other organs) compared to 7.9% of non-anemic patients.
The mortality rate was significantly increased in the anemic group (24.5%) compared to 7.7% of those in the non-anemic group.
2,104 women out of the total group had mild anemia, however, survival rates were still significantly shorter than those without anemia.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that pre-operative anemia had a significantly negative effect on breast cancer survival.
One common treatment for people with anemia is iron therapy. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action if you begin to develop this deficiency.
Published By :
Nov 19, 2014
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