Too much tissue is removed in surgical treatment of many patients with malignant and benign breast tumors, physicians at the Annual Scientific Assembly of the American Academy of General Practice were told.
George Crile, Jr., MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, cited a study of nearly 200 consecutive cases of breast cancer.
He said 75% of the cancers were operable, but issued a warning against immediate radical mastectomy. He noted that of the nearly 200 cases, half were treated by a form of radical mastectomy, while the other half were treated by simple mastectomy or by hemimastectomy. Most received no radiation therapy.
Crile said five- and six-year survival rates of patients treated by simple mastectomy were "a little higher" than those treated by radical mastectomy. Also, he continued, the survival rate was higher for patients of a surgeon who did chiefly simple mastectomy operations than for surgeons performing radical mastectomies.