Surgical Margins in Breast Conservation

Feldman, Sheldon

Significant progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer during the past 30 years. The increased availability of screening mammography has resulted in a higher percentage of woman being diagnosed with early stage disease allowing the option of breast conservation therapy to be more widely available. Long-term follow-up studies clearly demonstrate equivalent survival with breast conservation surgery (lumpectomy) and radiotherapy versus total mastectomy [1–3]. The importance of obtaining clear lumpectomy surgical margins has been well established in minimizing the risk of local recurrence [4]. Unfortunately there is a lack of uniform guidelines in terms of what constitutes an adequately clear lumpectomy margin. Substantial debate about bigger margins being better continues [5]. This has led to wide variations in lumpectomy margin reexcision rates from 15 to 47% [6]. These additional surgical procedures cause significant patient distress, utilize health care resources, and can adversely affect cosmesis. From the patient perspective, they may wonder why we did not get it right the first time. They want their cancer gone while maintaining a normal appearance.This special issue highlights the areas of controversy and demonstrates current best practices and emerging novel approaches towards optimal breast conservation approach. The goal is to improve our ability to provide breast-conserving approaches for breast cancer while avoiding multiple surgical procedures, minimizing recurrence risk while obtaining excellent cosmesis. We have chosen 6 of 16 submissions to be published in this special issue. Each paper was evaluated by at least two expert reviewers and revised according to review comments.


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International Journal of Surgical Oncology

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July 10, 2013