Reducing visits to the operating room for breast cancer patients

May 23, 2014 Claire L. Buchanan, MD, FACS

Swedish Cancer Institute has changed the way early stage breast cancer patients are cared for by adopting new surgical margin guidelines.  These guidelines will reduce the need for taking women back to the operating room if cancer cells are found at or near the specimen edge, also known as the margin. Following extensive review of the data, this new guideline was established by breast experts from the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Society of Radiation Oncology and has been endorsed by the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Many women with early stage invasive breast cancer opt for breast conserving surgery, known as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. For 20-25% of these patients, a second surgery or re-excision was performed because the margin was not considered adequate based on previous practice guidelines. The latest peer reviewed evidence shows disease control is excellent when surgery is combined with whole breast radiation with or without hormonal therapy and/or chemotherapy, regardless of the margin width.
The Swedish Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary breast cancer team reviewed and approved these guidelines for our program. We believe by reducing the need for additional surgery for some patients, we will reduce delays in starting multimodality therapies, optimize cosmetic results, shorten recovery time, reduce the cost burden and stress associated with added procedures.
Learn more about breast cancer treatment or call 206-320-2087 to speak with a breast oncology nurse specialist.

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