To assess the role of breast conservation therapy in the management of early-stage invasive breast cancer. We reviewed the results of previously published trials and summarized 165 cases of breast conservation surgical procedures and irradiation at the Mayo Clinic between January 1979 and September 1989. From the prior clinical trials, the criteria for selection of patients, the surgical and radiation techniques used, the complications of treatment, the cosmetic results, and the follow-up assessment and survival were analyzed. The 165 Mayo patients were also characterized, and their results were described. Breast conservation therapy consists of excision of the primary tumor followed by irradiation. A coordinated multidisciplinary approach should be used for selection of patients. Several large-scale clinical trials have demonstrated that breast conservation therapy is an appropriate option for most women with early-stage breast cancer and provides tumor control and survival rates equivalent to mastectomy. With a collaborative treatment program and judicious application of contemporary standards of practice, a good-to-excellent cosmetic outcome can be achieved in most patients, and the risk of treatment-related sequelae is minimal. The Mayo Clinic experience with breast conservation therapy is consistent with these observations and compares favorably with other institutional and clinical trial results. Patients should be fully educated about the options for primary management of early-stage breast cancer because the selection of therapy may profoundly influence psychologic adjustment and acceptance of the treatment program.
- National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project
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