Dr. Wendy Woodward, section chief for breast radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said that for women with early cancers, the study "clearly reiterates there is no detriment to cancer control in having a lumpectomy and radiation for breast-conserving surgery candidates."
But, Woodward added, "I am not sure the study convinces us that lumpectomy and radiation is better for breast cancer survival, but it may be."
The study was observational, Hwang stressed. It found a link or association but could not provide cause-and-effect proof that the breast-conserving treatment is more effective than mastectomy in early stage breast cancer.
Hwang believes the study does arm women with valuable information. However, "I don't want women who chose mastectomy to think they did the wrong thing," Hwang said. "At the end of the day, personal preference trumps everything else. I fully support the patient's options to choose the best treatment for themselves."
To learn more about lumpectomy, visit the American Cancer Society.
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