Wide excision without radiation as primary treatment for breast cancerin older patients

Gregory P. Swanson, Elaine Lagow, Mark Riggs, Richard Symmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Prior to the introduction of sentinel lymph node sampling, wide excision and axillary dissectionfollowed by radiation to the breast was considered a standard treatment for breast cancer. Not all patients who undergobreast conserving surgery receive radiation therapy, which is considered suboptimal care. We have evaluated ourexperience with wide excision alone and its effect on local-regional recurrence, development of metastatic disease andsurvival.Materials and Methods: Between 1987-1997 we identified 69 patients (70 breasts) treated with wide excision withoutradiation for their primary breast cancer.Results: The median age at diagnosis was 79 years. Median follow-up was 6.7 years. The median tumor size was 1.1 cm(range 0.2 - 3.5 cm). Fifty three percent of the patients received tamoxifen. Tumor size was significant for failure andsurvival. Seven (10%) patients failed. Only 6 patients (9%) had an ipsilateral recurrence requiring surgical intervention.Two of the six developed metastatic disease. One additional patient had distant spread without a detected local failure.Overall, 3 (4%) developed metastatic disease and died with breast cancer as a contributing factor. Sixty four percent of thepatients died without contribution from the breast cancer, and 31% were alive without disease.Conclusions: Not all patients require radiation for cancer control after wide excision. Patients who can be considered forsurgery alone without an unacceptable risk are the elderly (especially those with comorbid conditions with small lowgrade tumors treated with wide surgical margins).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalOpen Breast Cancer Journal
StatePublished - 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast conservation.fiojfpmdfk
  • Lumpectomy alone
  • Wide excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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