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Am J Surg. 2000 Dec;180(6):413-8.

Factors influencing a woman's choice to undergo breast-conserving surgery versus modified radical mastectomy.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, Kansas 67214, USA.



The use of breast-conserving surgery (BCS) rather than modified radical mastectomy (MRM) for the treatment of breast carcinoma is an option for the majority of women (75%) with early stage breast cancer, but only 20% to 50% choose to undergo this procedure nationwide. The objective of this study was to identify factors influencing a woman's choice between BCS and MRM, and specifically, the surgeon's influence on this choice.


A total of 134 women eligible for BCS were sent a survey. Data obtained included demographics, influential factors in treatment choice, and satisfaction with preoperative discussion and postoperative results.


Ninety-six women completed the questionnaire. Mean patient age was 62 years. Most women surveyed felt their treatment options were satisfactorily explained to them. BCS, MRM with reconstruction (MRM-R), and MRM without reconstruction (MRM-NR) were performed in 45%, 15%, and 40% of patients, respectively. Overall, the most influential factor was the fear of cancer. Women choosing BCS indicated that the surgeon, cosmetic result, and psychological aspects were more influential in their decision than in women undergoing MRM-NR (P <0.02). Fear of cancer was the most important factor affecting the choice to undergo MRM-NR. In comparing MRM-R with MRM-NR, there was a similar fear of cancer; however, MRM-R had much greater concern with cosmesis (P = 0.0002).


The surgeon's input is important in a woman's choice to undergo BCS or MRM-R. However, it appears that if a woman wants to have MRM-NR, even when she is a candidate for BCS, the surgeon's input is overshadowed by the patient's fear of cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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