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New research could improve breast cancer healthcare plans

Published on 20/10/2010
Breast cancer healthcare plans could be improved by new research that has discovered removing healthy tissue from around a tumour can stop the disease returning.

Published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, the research by surgeons from the Department of Breast Surgery at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield studied 303 women who had undergone breast tumour removal at the hospital between 2002 and 2008.

While this is a common alternative to breast removal with similar survival rates, this option has been shown to carry a higher risk of the cancer returning.

There is also debate among doctors of how much healthy tissue from around the tumour should be removed, known as the free margin.

The researchers found that in women who had received surgery for invasive cancer (where the cancer has spread to the breast tissue), the risk of the disease returning reduced as the free margin increased - from 35.3 per cent with no margin to 2.4 per cent with a margin of more than 2mm.

"Based on these results, we feel confident that a free margin of 2mm from the area of invasive cancer is adequate to minimise residual disease," said lead author Dr Stephen Ward.

Around 46,000 women and 290 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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