With more and more women with early breast cancer restoring to mastectomy and reconstruction, a new study has warned that the two procedures could eventually turn out to be more risky and costly than lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy.
Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center found through a new study involving data from more than 100,000 such patients that mastectomy and reconstruction procedures in early stage breast cancer carry a significantly higher price tag and greater risk of major follow-up problems than other options. To put it in quantitative terms, the procedures cost roughly $88,000 per patient, $23,000 more than the less extensive lumpectomy treatment with more than $9,000 of that cost occurred managing complications.
Dr Benjamin Smith, an MD Anderson professor of radiation oncology and the study’s principal investigator of the study explains that their study is the first of its kind to look at the risks associated with US’ rising mastectomy and reconstruction rates as compared to other simpler options. He adds that their findings are important for they indicate that lumpectomy plus radiation offer the best of both worlds – lower risks and lower costs.
Prior to this study there was little data to understand the overall risk profile of the various treatment options in comparison to each other as well as their comparative costs. The study will ensure that patients as well as medical practitioners will be able to decide the right course of action.
The findings come at a time when there is a growing trend to opt for mast+recon in the US. This study is the first to quantify the harm associated with this trend, says Smith.
Some 140,000 US women are diagnosed annually with early-stage breast cancer and most are eligible for numerous treatment options, including lumpectomy, usually followed by either of two types of radiation, and mastectomy, with or without reconstruction.