New surgical guidelines announced today by the Society of
Surgical Oncology (SSO) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology
(ASTRO) have the potential to significantly reduce unnecessary breast
surgeries, improve patient outcomes and empower women to make important
decisions with their doctors about their breast cancer treatment. The
new guidelines are the result of a Komen-funded comprehensive review of
the value of removing large amounts of breast tissue beyond the
"margins" or area around the edge of a cancerous breast tumor.
SSO and ASTRO noted that about 25 percent of breast cancer patients are
asked to return to the operating room following a lumpectomy
to obtain a wider margin by removing more normal tissue around the
cancer, known as "re-excision" of the breast.
Whether this second procedure is beneficial in reducing the risk of
local recurrence, and how much tissue should be removed, has been a
topic of ongoing debate in the medical community. To answer this
question, Komen provided funding to Dr. Monica Morrow of the SSO to
convene leaders in surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical
oncology, pathology and patient advocacy, including representation from
in Science (AIS) member Peggy Johnson. The panel convened in 2013 to
determine the optimal margin width in breast-conserving surgery for
stage I and II invasive breast cancer.
The findings announced today show that evidence does not support the
routine removal of larger amounts of healthy breast tissue beyond the
edge of the tumor for any women, including those wth aggressive triple
negative breast cancer. SSO and ASTRO are releasing
the guidelines to doctors and oncologists today in hopes of
influencing clinical practice.
"One of our most important goals is ensuring that breast cancer patients
get the right treatment for them, and can make informed choices about
their care. We hope these guidelines can reduce anxiety, unnecessary
re-excisions and even patient treatment costs. They should become an
important part of the discussion between a woman and her medical team,"
said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S.
Peggy Johnson, a Komen Advocate in Science, commended the panel for its
thoughtful review of the issue. "There are so many decisions that a
patient has to make after a breast cancer diagnosis. Our goal as patient
advocates is to ensure that patients are informed and consulted, and
that they are making decisions based on the best evidence available. I
was honored as a patient advocate to serve on this panel, and look
forward to more collaborations for the benefit of women and men facing
With more than $33 million invested in research on improved screening
and diagnostic methods and $37.5 million invested in understanding how
to improve patient quality of life, these guidelines build upon Komen's
commitment to ensuring quality care for all patients and leading the
future of breast cancer research.
Advancing patient knowledge and representation throughout the breast
cancer continuum of care also continues to be a key area of focus for
Komen. Through groups like the AIS,
established in 2008, patient advocates bring a real-world understanding
of what most impacts those affected by breast cancer, and an urgency to
find cures and more effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
the SSO-ASTRO guidelines here or in Annals of Surgical Oncology.
About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world's largest breast cancer organization,
funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while
providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding
in 1982, Komen has funded more than $800 million in research and
provided almost $1.7 billion in funding to screening, education,
treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people
in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G.
Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the
disease that claimed Suzy's life. Visit komen.org
or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on Facebook
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