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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Apr 1;67(5):1282-90. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Is mastectomy superior to breast-conserving treatment for young women?

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Radiation Therapy Program, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada.



To examine whether modified radical mastectomy (MRM) improves outcomes compared with breast-conserving treatment (BCT) in young women.


Women aged 20-49 years, diagnosed with early breast cancer between 1989 and 1998, were identified. Management with BCT or MRM was compared for local (L), locoregional (LR), and distant relapse-free survival (DRFS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) by age group (20-39 years, 40-49 years). The analysis was repeated for patients considered "ideal" candidates for BCT: tumor size < or =2 cm, pathologically negative axillary nodes, negative margins, and no reported ductal carcinoma in situ.


A total of 1,597 women received BCT, and 801 had MRM. After a median follow-up of 9.0 years, the outcomes (L, LR, BCSS) were worse for the younger age group; however, the outcomes were not statistically different by type of local treatment. For women aged 20-39 years considered "ideal" for BCT, those treated with BCT had slightly lower LRFS compared with those treated with MRM (p = 0.3), but DRFS and BCSS were similar.


A difference in LRFS at 10 years potentially favored MRM among women aged 20-39 years considered "ideal" BCT candidates but was not statistically significant and did not translate into a noticeable difference in DRFS or BCSS. Our data suggest that young age alone is not a contraindication to BCT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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