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Lumpectomies

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76-year-old Joan Safir was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. "I was a high risk patient, had been tested every six months and this time it came up in the MRI."

Some doctors do not recommend radiation treatment for older women after a lumpectomy.

Now a new study finds that some older women may want radiation after removing the cancerous lump, because that may help prevent more surgery later. "The majority of women that they looked at were benefitted by radiation. it reduced the need for mastectomies," says Dr. Freya Schnabel of NYU Langone Medical Center.

The study in the journal Cancer looked at 7,400 women age 70 to 79 who had a lumpectomy.

Investigators found that within 10 years after treatment, 6.3% of women who did not get radiation eventually had a mastectomy, compared with 3.2% of women who received radiation

While certain guidelines suggest older women with early stage breast cancer may not need radiation after a lumpectomy, experts say these findings show some women will benefit from radiation treatment.

The study found one group of women that may not benefit...women over 75 with low grade breast cancer. "For those patients the deicsion of whether or not to use radiation after a lumpetctomy should be something that is discussed with their doctors."

Joan had chemotherapy and radiation after her lumpectomy. "I'm hoping that it will be enough and that there will be no reoccurence."

She continues to be screened frequently to ensure she stays healthy.

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