Cavity Shaving Helps Reduce Chances of Breast Cancer Relapse

Cavity Shaving Helps Reduce Chances of Breast Cancer Relapse

In a revolutionary study, scientists have concluded that by slicing off a little extra tissue during breast cancer surgery, the risk of having some cancerous cells left behind is lowered, as also the need for a second operation.

Doctors link breast cancer to the dense breast tissue mainly due to the fact that a tumor is hard to distinguish from dense breast tissue on mammography images. This is because the dense tissue is like white clouds and the fat is black, so it becomes difficult to find tumors against the white clouds because tumors too are white. The best way to detect these is either through MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) or through 3-D mammogram.

However, the study that was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago on Saturday, was an attempt to ensure that women who had undergone a breast cancer surgery once, did not have to go in for a second operation. The 235 women who were included in the sample, received an extra cavity shave during their usual breast surgery.

It was found that cosmetically, women did not report any difference between the two treatments. However, as a positive development, only 10 per cent of those who had extra tissue removed needed a second surgery versus 21 per cent of the others.

Thus, the study was successful in reducing positive margins, an area at the edge of the tumour that looks healthy, but in fact is the repository of cancer cells.

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