According to a latest study, keeping a check on the lymph nodes and hormone type of the cancerous cells during surgery itself may be instrumental in increasing the chances of survival in breast cancer patients. This revelation was made by study author Professor Stephen Duffy, Cancer Research UK professor of screening, in collaboration with others.
In an analysis on breast cancer patients in about 10 hospitals, it was seemingly observed that those hospitals had a better rate of survival whose doctors checked the lymph nodes of maximum patients during surgery itself.
Professor Duffy says that, “We found that the proportion of women under 70 who had lymph node checks as recommended by NICE ranged from 81 per cent to 94 per cent with the hospitals with higher percentages having better survival.”
It was evidently also observed that in the 70+ patients, surgically removing their tumors and checking their hormone status may be the two most important factors which differentiated the rate of survival between hospitals.
These experts noted that the rate of survival may increase if the respective hospitals may adhere to the existing surgical guidelines. It was explained that checking the lymph nodes and the hormone status may provide the clinicians with crucial information on the most appropriate course of treatment to be taken post surgery.
“Although survival rates for breast cancer are very good in hospitals we studied in the East of England, rivaling the best in Europe, we have found that there is still room for improvement ,” says Professor Duffy. “One reason why survival varied between the hospitals for women under 70 was whether they had their lymph nodes removed and examined. Another is screening as we know from previous studies that women have a much better chance of survival if their tumor is picked up at an early stage. We would encourage all women to attend screening when invited.”
More so it was also noted that women above the age of 70 may have a better chance of surviving this disease if they undergone surgery. Apart from this, the other deciding factor may be if their cancer’s hormone status may have been determined during the diagnosis. These experts believe that by more and more hospitals following the guidelines on hormone receptor typing, there may be an improvement in the rate of survival.
These findings have been published in the Annals of Oncology.