A recent article published in the British Medical Journal suggests that one in five women who opt for breast-conserving surgery end up undergoing at least one more surgical procedure.
Breast-conserving surgeries are very effective when the tumour is obvious and invasive; however potential problems can occur if the tumour is pre-invasive because they don’t always form a lump and therefore it’s difficult to remove all the cancerous tissue completely. This can often lead to unnecessary surgeries and more emotional distress.
A study of more than 55,000 women showed that those suffering from pre-invasive cancer (or carcinoma in situ) were more likely to undergo a second surgery if they had opted for a breast conserving procedure to begin with. It was also reported that 40% of women having a second surgery had a full mastectomy.
These findings can both empower and inform women making decisions about their treatment and surgical options for breast cancer.