In a nutshell
This study wanted to determine how many patients were going for imaging and biopsy after their mastectomy following breast cancer diagnosis. The study found that between 10-15% of patients underwent imaging after mastectomy, and 6-8% underwent biopsy, and in a small number of these cases, remaining cancer cells were found.
Many patients with breast cancer are able to have breast conserving surgery, where only the part of the breast containing the tumor is removed. Despite this, more women are choosing to undergo full mastectomies, where the whole breast (or both breasts) are removed. This is because these women believe that if the whole breast is removed they will not have to go back for imaging and biopsies after treatment. It is important to research the need for imaging and biopsies after treatment.
Methods & findings
There were 385 patients included in this study, 185 who had one breast removed, and 200 who had both breasts removed. On average, the patients were followed for 30 months.
Of the patients who had one breast removed, 10% returned for imaging, and 6% for biopsy. 1% (total number 2) of these patients had remaining cancer cells found. Of those who had both breasts removed, 15.5% had imaging performed, and 8% underwent biopsies. 1.5% (3 total) of the biopsies revealed remaining cancer cells.
The bottom line
The study concluded that between 10-15% of patients who have undergone mastectomy return for imaging, and between 6-8% return for biopsies. Approximately 1% have remaining cancer cells found.
The fine print
This study wasn’t very large, but is very revealing. In the case of single breast removal, 19 patients returned for imaging, and 11 for biopsy. There were two patients who had remaining cancer cells. This means that 10.5% of patients who returned for imaging had remaining cancer cells. Statistically this means that if every patient who underwent a single breast mastectomy returned (185), 19 cases of remaining cancer cells would be caught at this stage.
Discuss what your treatment options are with your oncologist and decide if you require further imaging and biopsy after treatment.
Published By :
Annals of Surgical Oncology
Sep 10, 2018
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