Tool Predicts Post-Surgery Breast Cancer Recurrence

Computer method looks specifically at women who've undergone lumpectomy

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SATURDAY, Nov. 11, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. team has developed a computer tool that helps doctors predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who've had a lumpectomy.

This tool is designed to determine the 10-year risk of cancer returning in a breast in which doctors have done a lumpectomy -- breast-conserving surgery that removes only the tumor area. The surgery is followed by radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

"Our tool provides physicians with information regarding the risk of breast cancer returning in the same breast for any individual patients, which can help them evaluate the potential benefit of additional treatments needed to cure the cancer, including radiation therapy," Dr. Mona Sanghani, an oncologist at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"This predictive tool, however, must be validated by independent clinical data before it is widely used," Sanghani added.

The computer tool takes into account a number of risk factors in order to calculate the likelihood that cancer will return in a breast that's undergone lumpectomy. These factors include the size and grade of the cancer; the patient's age at the time of treatment; whether lymphatic vessels are affected; and the use of chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Information about the computer tool was presented at this week's annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, in Philadelphia.

More information

Breastcancer.org has more about lumpectomy.

SOURCE: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, news release, Nov. 6, 2006

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