Breast cancer treatment questioned

Associated Press

LONDON — The proportion of women with early-stage breast cancer receiving incorrect treatment in the United States has nearly doubled in the 1990s, increasing from 12 percent in 1989 to 22 percent by 1995, a new study says.

The reason is the growing popularity of lumpectomy, where doctors cut out only the cancerous part of the breast instead of removing the whole breast, and the failure of some doctors to carry out important follow-up treatments, said the study, published this week in The Lancet medical journal.

It estimated that about 22,000 American women each year may be receiving substandard care.

Two treatment options are considered appropriate when breast cancer has not spread to other areas. The first is a mastectomy — the removal of the breast — together with a dissection of the lymph nodes in the armpit to ensure they are cancer free.

The second is a lumpectomy, along with the lymph node check and radiation treatment of the area. Although it allows women to keep their breasts and can be as effective at eliminating cancer if done right, lumpectomy is a more complicated treatment than mastectomy.

The problem noted by researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee was that some doctors skipped the radiation or lymph node inspection, or both, when they performed lumpectomies.

In 1990, experts agreed at a National Institutes of Health consensus conference that lumpectomy is the preferable approach and set out the recommended procedures for both options. Since then, lumpectomy has been on the rise.

The researchers found that the proportion of women getting substandard lumpectomy treatment increased from 10 percent in 1989 to 19 percent at the end of 1995.

The study concluded that the problem is not that doctors are getting more lax when performing lumpectomies, but that more women overall were getting lumpectomies instead of mastectomies.

While about 15 percent of women got lumpectomies in 1983, about half were getting that treatment by 1995.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Herald publisher Rudi Alcott
A note from the publisher

The Daily Herald publisher Rudi Alcott discusses our new publishing schedule and newspaper delivery by mail.

Locals from the group Safe Lynnwood gather in front of the Ryann Building on 196th Street SW to protest the opening of a methadone clinic in the building on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Despite controversy, Lynnwood opioid treatment center opens its doors

For weeks, protesters have objected to the center opening near Little League fields and a Boys and Girls Club.

CEO Amy King standing outside of a Pallet shelter. (Courtesy of Pallet)
After rapid rise, Everett’s Pallet hits milestone: 100 shelter villages

Temporary home manufacturer Pallet hires locals who have “experienced homelessness, substance abuse or the justice system.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Boil water advisory in effect for 75 Snohomish homes

A water main break resulted in outages and possible contamination Sunday. Service was expected to return by Wednesday.

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez speaks at his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Driver in fatal I-5 crash in Arlington gets 10 years

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez had a lengthy history with impaired driving. He pleaded guilty to killing Jason Vogan, 45.

The building at 307 Olympic Avenue, seen on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, is home to the office of Omni-Mana Services in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Charges: Arlington drug trafficker masqueraded as a pastor

Prosecutors say Steve Parker led a double life, helping people in addiction while dealing drugs across Western Washington.

Most Read