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Br J Cancer. 1992 May;65(5):717-22.

Using decision analysis to calculate the optimum treatment for microinvasive cervical cancer.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, U.K.


Decision theory was used to calculate the optimum treatment of microscopic squamous cervical cancer using probabilities obtained from an exhaustive literature review and a range of plausible value estimates. This showed that if there is no vascular involvement, survival is maximised by conservative treatment if tumour invasion is less than 3 mm while treatment by radical surgery results in maximal survival rates if the tumour invasion is over 3 mm. Radical surgery also maximises survival for smaller lesions where lymph channel involvement is present, especially if a surgical mortality at the lower end of the reported range is assumed. Refinement of our analysis to include an assessment of patient values showed that these conclusions are still valid regardless of the patient's relative preference for death from surgery or death from cancer. However, the wish to preserve fertility sharply reduces the overall net benefit of surgery. Conservative treatment becomes the preferred option for all microinvasive lesions even for patients who are prepared to trade-off a small (e.g. 2%) risk of death in order to retain their fertility.

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