J. Michael Dixon, MBChB, MD, Professor of Surgery, Consultant Surgeon, University of Edinburgh, Clinical Director of the Edinburgh Breast Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland, discusses the need to develop a better way of informing women with breast cancer of the potential risks entailed by a mastectomy, including mastectomy with breast reconstruction.
Dixon explains, in the UK approximately 10% of women receiving breast reconstruction following mastectomy experienced a complication that resulted in the loss of their implant. Readmission following mastectomy reaches 10-20%, he notes, this number is exceptionally high when you consider the procedure has not been associated with a reduced rate of local recurrence.
The need for education is an ongoing item, as is the need to increase awareness in the US. Dixon notes, there is currently a large disparity between the UK and the US. He adds that more women in the US are needlessly receiving mastectomy causing additional risks when breast-conserving surgery is the better option.
An updated guideline from ASCO regarding the use of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in early stage breast cancer supports the use of the procedure over axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in a larger group of patients than previously recommended.