Many women think "they may do better the more surgery they do," said study researcher Dr. E. Shelley Hwang, chief of breast surgery at Duke Cancer Institute. "They need to be aware that lumpectomy gives them excellent long-term outcomes."
The researchers note lumpectomy is not for everyone. It is not recommended for women with large tumors or multiple tumors in the same breast, those who have had previous chest radiation, or those who have certain genetic mutations, such as the BRCA1 mutation. But the majority of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (over 80 percent) are candidates for lumpectomy, Hwang said.
Breast Cancer Surgery Hwang and colleagues analyzed information from 112,154 women in California diagnosed with early stage breast cancer between 1990 and 2004 who received either a lumpectomy followed by radiation, or a mastectomy.
During the study period, there were 31,416 deaths, about 39 percent of which were due to breast cancer.
Women who were 50 years and older and who had tumors that were sensitive to the hormones estrogen and progesterone showed the biggest benefit from lumpectomy. They were 13 percent less likely to die from breast cancer, and 19 percent less likely to die from any cause, compared with those undergoing mastectomy.