1 in 4 women has more surgery after a partial mastectomy
The study points to a long-standing problem in breast-cancer treatment: There is no agreement among surgeons on how much healthy tissue surrounding the tumor to take out.
LOS ANGELES — A new study shows that one in four women who get a partial mastectomy to excise a cancerous tumor without having to remove the entire breast returns for another surgery to remove additional tissue.
The study points to a long-standing problem in breast-cancer treatment: There is no agreement among surgeons on how much healthy tissue surrounding the tumor to take out. Surgeons don't want to remove more tissue than necessary, because they wish to spare the breast. However, if cancer cells are left behind, the disease could spread.
Up to 75 percent of breast-cancer patients have a partial mastectomy.
Researchers looked at tumor excisions from 2,206 women. Among them, 22.9 percent underwent at least one additional surgery to remove more tissue. The study showed that surgeons differed on what they considered to be a "clear margin," free of cancer.
The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More side effects
with proton therapy
Research suggests a pricey new treatment for prostate cancer called proton therapy might have more side effects than traditional radiation.
A study of Medicare records found that men treated with proton beams later had one-third more bowel problems, such as bleeding and blockages, than similar men given conventional radiation.
"There's no clear evidence that proton therapy is better" for prostate cancer, and the new results suggest it may cause more complications, said Dr. Ronald Chen, a radiation specialist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who led the study, which will be presented at a medical meeting in San Francisco later this week.
New drug approved
for cystic fibrosis
Vertex Pharmaceuticals' Kalydeco, the first drug that treats the root cause of cystic fibrosis, won approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, offering a life-changing treatment for a handful of the 30,000 Americans with the inherited disease that causes sticky mucus buildup in the lungs and other organs, leading to infections, digestive problems and death in young adulthood.
The typical life expectancy is about 37 years, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation says.
Hospital infections: Norovirus took the top spot for infection outbreaks in U.S. hospitals from 2008 to 2009 and was responsible for most department closures as well, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. Norovirus, which causes severe gastroenteritis, was followed by Staphylococcus aureus, or staph; Acinetobacter spp, a bacterium common in hospitals; and Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, a bacterium that can cause colon inflammation and diarrhea.
Recalls of the Pill: Pfizer is recalling 1 million packets of birth-control pills after uncovering a packaging error that could leave women with an inadequate dose of the hormone-based drugs and raise the risk of accidental pregnancy. The problem affects 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of generic Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. Both products are manufactured by Pfizer and marketed in the U.S. by Akrimax Rx Products.
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