Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines Could Save Your Life

Study finds they increase chances of survival

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MONDAY, Aug. 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Women with breast cancer who follow established treatment guidelines have a better chance of survival and less risk of recurrence than women who don't.

That's the finding of a Canadian study in the Aug. 2 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study compared survival of 1,002 women with early breast cancer who were treated according to guidelines developed at the 1992 St. Gallen conference in Switzerland, and 380 whose treatment did not follow those guidelines. The women were diagnosed between 1988 and 1994 with invasive breast cancer that had not spread to nearby lymph nodes.

The St. Gallen guidelines outline whether a woman with node-negative breast cancer should, after surgery, receive tamoxifen, chemotherapy, neither or both.

The study found overall survival at seven years was 88 percent for women who were treated according to the guidelines, compared with 79 percent for women whose treatment did not follow the guidelines.

For women at moderate and high risk of recurrence, the recurrence rate at seven years was 17 percent and 36 percent, respectively, for those whose treatment followed the guidelines. It was 36 percent and 42 percent, respectively, when treatment did not follow the guidelines.

An accompanying editorial notes the study results need to be interpreted with caution because they're drawn from medical care delivered more than a decade ago.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has information about breast cancer treatment.

SOURCE: American Society of Clinical Oncology, news release, Aug. 2, 2004

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