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Breast cancer survival odds better with faster treatment

Women with breast cancer may have better survival odds if they get surgery and chemotherapy more quickly, two large U.S. studies suggest. "We are not taking about providing care in days, but a woman should not have to wait months," said Dr. Eric ...

  Women with breast cancer may have better survival odds if they get surgery and chemotherapy more quickly, two large U.S. studies suggest.

"We are not taking about providing care in days, but a woman should not have to wait months," said Dr. Eric Winer, a researcher at Harvard University and director of the breast program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"We need to reinforce for doctors that delays could be a problem for some patients and that, in any case, timely care could not be bad," Winer, senior author of an editorial accompanying the studies in JAMA Oncology, said by email.

Most women with breast cancer have some type of surgery - either a lumpectomy that removes malignant tissue while sparing the rest of the breast or a mastectomy that removes the entire breast. After surgery, many of them also receive chemotherapy to remove any remaining abnormal cells and reduce the risk of cancer coming back.

To see how the time between diagnosis and surgery impacts survival, the research team for the first study analyzed records from two large U.S. databases, each with approximately 100,000 women.

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Researchers sorted the women into groups based on how long they waited for surgery: 30 days or less; 31 to 60 days; 61 to 90 days; 91 to 120 days; and 121 to 180 days.

The majority of women - 78 percent in one data set and 70 percent in the other - got surgery within 30 days of diagnosis.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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