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Milk Duct Breast Cancer Treatment Successful Outcomes For Younger Patients

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, September 29, 2008 11:29 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Breast Cancer, Cancer, Women's Health, American Cancer Society, Radiation, Lumpectomy, Breast Surgery, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Research finds with careful selection of patients, younger ones with milk duct breast cancer has the same survival rates as older women.



IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / Breast Cancer Survivors / author: JBryson


New research suggests that young women diagnosed with a common form of early breast cancer, can have just as successful a prognosis as older women.   

Aggressive treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) using breast-conserving surgery and aggressive radiation had very low rates of recurrence, regardless of whether they were under age 40 or over age 50.

The research out of Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center corrects previous assumptions that younger women had a worse outcome.  

In this study, lead researcher, Dr. Aruna Turaka, looked at the medical records of more than 400 patients with DCIS treatment. Among them - 24 patients who were ages 40 or younger.

At Fox Chase, surgeons generally recommend a lumpectomy, followed by whole-breast radiation.

In this study, 95 percent received an additional boost of targeted radiation at the site of the removed tumor. Tamoxifen is sometimes taken as an adjunct to treatment.

Overall the rate of recurrence was seven percent at ten years, and eight percent at 15 years.  There was no variation with age or whether the patients took tamoxifen.

Dr. Turaka credits the low recurrence rate to careful patient selection, the radiation boost and surgical re-excision, meaning additional surgery would follow to ensure the tumor margins were free of cancer.

Radiation oncologist Jennifer F. De Los Santos believes the number of young DCIS patients in the study was far too small to make any general statements about age and prognosis.

She tells WebMD, “This was not a randomized study and there were only 24 patients who were 40 years old and younger. While the findings are provocative, they are in no way conclusive because of these two things.”

The findings are being presented this week at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common form of noninvasive breast cancer diagnosed each year in the US with about 62,000 new cases, according to the American Cancer Society. It is a cancer that is confined to the milk ducts. #

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