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Surg Oncol. 2009 Mar;18(1):3-13. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Breast conservation in locally advanced breast cancer in developing countries: wise or waste.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, U.P., India.


Breast conservation as an additional benefit was beyond the initial expectations of the investigators who pioneered neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). In recent years an increasing number of patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) are being treated with NACT, followed by breast conservation surgery with axillary dissection and radiation as a part of the multimodality management. Breast conservation has not been the standard of care for women with LABC, owing to concerns of increased chances of local recurrence, and possible survival disadvantage and psychological trauma from experiencing a recurrence of malignancy. LABC is still a common form of presentation of breast cancer in developing countries. Strict adherence to treatment protocols and regular follow-ups for years may not be practical for a large majority of patients hailing from the regions most affected by LABC. Defaulters often thus have a heavy price to pay. Hence lies the importance of carefully selecting LABC patients for a breast conservation approach from others that would have a higher risk of locoregional recurrence. Can we extrapolate the lessons learnt in early breast cancer to LABC and offer selected patients with LABC breast conservation therapy? Would the local control and survival results with conservative therapy be comparable to those obtained using mastectomy, or does the increased tumor burden in LABC necessitate ablative surgery in all women? This review aims to address these important questions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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