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Surgical Treatment for Women with Breast Cancer: Do Randomized Clinical Trials Represent Current Medical Practices?

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Randomized clinical trials have not shown survival differences between breast cancer patients who undergo breast-conserving surgery and those who undergo modified radical mastectomy (MRM). Recent studies however, have suggested that these randomized clinical trials findings may not be representative of the entire population or the nature of current patient care. A retrospective analysis of female invasive breast cancer patients who underwent surgery in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (1990‐2003) was performed. Survival was compared amongst women who underwent partial mastectomy, partial mastectomy plus radiation (PMR), or MRM. Cox proportional hazards regressions were used to investigate the impact of method of treatment upon survival, after adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics. A total of 218,043 patients, mean age 62 years, were identified. MRM accounted for 51.5 per cent of the study population whereas PMR accounted for 34.9 per cent. On multivariate analyses, significant improvement was observed in patient survival associated with PMR when compared with MRM patients (hazard ratio = 0.71, 95% confidence interval = 0.67‐0.74, P < 0.001). This population-based study suggests that there is a survival benefit for women undergoing PMR in the treatment of breast cancer.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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